FIPS 55-3 Code
US National Archive Codes
Coordinates Latitude: 40.7127753 Longitude: -74.0059728
Demographics & Economic Data
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In 1664, the city was named in honor of the Duke of York, who would become King James II of England. James's older brother, King Charles II, had appointed the Duke proprietor of the former territory of New Netherland, including the city of New Amsterdam, which England had recently seized from the Dutch.
During the Wisconsinan glaciation, 75,000 to 11,000 years ago, the New York City region was situated at the edge of a large ice sheet over 1,000 feet (300 m) in depth. The erosive forward movement of the ice (and its subsequent retreat) contributed to the separation of what is now Long Island and Staten Island. That action also left bedrock at a relatively shallow depth, providing a solid foundation for most of Manhattan's skyscrapers.In the precolonial era, the area of present-day New York City was inhabited by Algonquian Native Americans, including the Lenape, whose homeland, known as Lenapehoking, included Staten Island; the western portion of Long Island, including the area that would become Brooklyn and Queens; Manhattan; the Bronx; and the Lower Hudson Valley.The first documented visit into New York Harbor by a European was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer in the service of the French crown. He claimed the area for France and named it Nouvelle Angoulême (New Angoulême). A Spanish expedition led by captain Estêvão Gomes, a Portuguese sailing for Emperor Charles V, arrived in New York Harbor in January 1525 and charted the mouth of the Hudson River, which he named Río de San Antonio (Saint Anthony's River). The Padrón Real of 1527, the first scientific map to show the East Coast of North America continuously, was informed by Gomes' expedition and labeled the northeastern United States as Tierra de Esteban Gómez in his honor.
In 1609, the English explorer Henry Hudson rediscovered the New York Harbor while searching for the Northwest Passage to the Orient for the Dutch East India Company. He proceeded to sail up what the Dutch would name the North River (now the Hudson River), named first by Hudson as the Mauritius after Maurice, Prince of Orange. Hudson's first mate described the harbor as "a very good Harbour for all windes" and the river as "a mile broad" and "full of fish." Hudson sailed roughly 150 miles (240 km) north, past the site of the present-day New York State capital city of Albany, in the belief that it might be an oceanic tributary before the river became too shallow to continue. He made a ten-day exploration of the area and claimed the region for the Dutch East India Company. In 1614, the area between Cape Cod and Delaware Bay was claimed by the Netherlands and called Nieuw-Nederland (New Netherland).
The first non-Native American inhabitant of what would eventually become New York City was Juan Rodriguez (transliterated to Dutch as Jan Rodrigues), a merchant from Santo Domingo. Born in Santo Domingo of Portuguese and African descent, he arrived in Manhattan during the winter of 1613–14, trapping for pelts and trading with the local population as a representative of the Dutch. Broadway, from 159th Street to 218th Street in Upper Manhattan, is named Juan Rodriguez Way in his honor.
A permanent European presence in New Netherland began in 1624 – making New York the 12th oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the continental United States – with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement on Governors Island. In 1625, construction was started on a citadel and Fort Amsterdam, later called Nieuw Amsterdam (New Amsterdam), on present-day Manhattan Island. The colony of New Amsterdam was centered at the site which would eventually become Lower Manhattan. It extended from the lower tip of Manhattan to modern day Wall Street,where a 12 foot wooden stockade was built in 1653 to protect against Native American and British Raids. In 1626, the Dutch colonial Director-General Peter Minuit, acting as charged by the Dutch West India Company, purchased the island of Manhattan from the Canarsie, a small Lenape band, for 60 guilders (about $1,000 in 2006). A disproved legend claims that Manhattan was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads.Following the purchase, New Amsterdam grew slowly. To attract settlers, the Dutch instituted the patroon system in 1628, whereby wealthy Dutchmen (patroons, or patrons) who brought 50 colonists to New Netherland would be awarded swathes of land, along with local political autonomy and rights to participate in the lucrative fur trade. This program had little success.Since 1621, the Dutch West India Company had operated as a monopoly in New Netherland, on authority granted by the Dutch States General. In 1639–1640, in an effort to bolster economic growth, the Dutch West India Company relinquished its monopoly over the fur trade, leading to growth in the production and trade of food, timber, tobacco, and slaves (particularly with the Dutch West Indies).In 1647, Peter Stuyvesant began his tenure as the last Director-General of New Netherland. During his tenure, the population of New Netherland grew from 2,000 to 8,000. Stuyvesant has been credited with improving law and order in the colony; however, he also earned a reputation as a despotic leader. He instituted regulations on liquor sales, attempted to assert control over the Dutch Reformed Church, and blocked other religious groups (including Quakers, Jews, and Lutherans) from establishing houses of worship. The Dutch West India Company would eventually attempt to ease tensions between Stuyvesant and residents of New Amsterdam.
In 1664, unable to summon any significant resistance, Stuyvesant surrendered New Amsterdam to English troops, led by Colonel Richard Nicolls, without bloodshed. The terms of the surrender permitted Dutch residents to remain in the colony and allowed for religious freedom. The English promptly renamed the fledgling city "New York" after the Duke of York (the future King James II of England). The transfer was confirmed in 1667 by the Treaty of Breda, which concluded the Second Anglo-Dutch War.On August 24, 1673, during the Third Anglo-Dutch War, Dutch captain Anthony Colve seized the colony of New York from England at the behest of Cornelis Evertsen the Youngest and rechristened it "New Orange" after William III, the Prince of Orange. The Dutch would soon return the island to England under the Treaty of Westminster of November 1674.Several intertribal wars among the Native Americans and some epidemics brought on by contact with the Europeans caused sizeable population losses for the Lenape between the years 1660 and 1670. By 1700, the Lenape population had diminished to 200. New York experienced several yellow fever epidemics in the 18th century, losing ten percent of its population to the disease in 1702 alone.New York grew in importance as a trading port while under British rule in the early 1700s. It also became a center of slavery, with 42% of households holding slaves by 1730, the highest percentage outside Charleston, South Carolina. Most slaveholders held a few or several domestic slaves, but others hired them out to work at labor. Slavery became integrally tied to New York's economy through the labor of slaves throughout the port, and the banks and shipping tied to the American South. Discovery of the African Burying Ground in the 1990s, during construction of a new federal courthouse near Foley Square, revealed that tens of thousands of Africans had been buried in the area in the colonial years.
The 1735 trial and acquittal in Manhattan of John Peter Zenger, who had been accused of seditious libel after criticizing colonial governor William Cosby, helped to establish the freedom of the press in North America. In 1754, Columbia University was founded under charter by King George II as King's College in Lower Manhattan.
The Stamp Act Congress met in New York in October 1765, as the Sons of Liberty, organized in the city, skirmished over the next ten years with British troops stationed there. The Battle of Long Island, the largest battle of the American Revolutionary War, was fought in August 1776 within the modern-day borough of Brooklyn. After the battle, in which the Americans were defeated, the British made the city their military and political base of operations in North America. The city was a haven for Loyalist refugees and escaped slaves who joined the British lines for freedom newly promised by the Crown for all fighters. As many as 10,000 escaped slaves crowded into the city during the British occupation. When the British forces evacuated at the close of the war in 1783, they transported 3,000 freedmen for resettlement in Nova Scotia. They resettled other freedmen in England and the Caribbean.
The only attempt at a peaceful solution to the war took place at the Conference House on Staten Island between American delegates, including Benjamin Franklin, and British general Lord Howe on September 11, 1776. Shortly after the British occupation began, the Great Fire of New York occurred, a large conflagration on the West Side of Lower Manhattan, which destroyed about a quarter of the buildings in the city, including Trinity Church.In 1785, the assembly of the Congress of the Confederation made New York City the national capital shortly after the war. New York was the last capital of the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation and the first capital under the Constitution of the United States. In 1789, the first President of the United States, George Washington, was inaugurated; the first United States Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States each assembled for the first time, and the United States Bill of Rights was drafted, all at Federal Hall on Wall Street. By 1790, New York had surpassed Philadelphia to become the largest city in the United States, but by the end of that year, pursuant to the Residence Act, the national capital was moved to Philadelphia.
Under New York State's gradual abolition act of 1799, children of slave mothers were to be eventually liberated but to be held in indentured servitude until their mid-to-late twenties. Together with slaves freed by their masters after the Revolutionary War and escaped slaves, a significant free-black population gradually developed in Manhattan. Under such influential United States founders as Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the New York Manumission Society worked for abolition and established the African Free School to educate black children. It was not until 1827 that slavery was completely abolished in the state, and free blacks struggled afterward with discrimination. New York interracial abolitionist activism continued; among its leaders were graduates of the African Free School. The city's black population reached more than 16,000 in 1840.In the 19th century, the city was transformed by development relating to its status as a trading center, as well as by European immigration. The city adopted the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, which expanded the city street grid to encompass almost all of Manhattan. The 1825 completion of the Erie Canal through central New York connected the Atlantic port to the agricultural markets and commodities of the North American interior via the Hudson River and the Great Lakes. Local politics became dominated by Tammany Hall, a political machine supported by Irish and German immigrants.Several prominent American literary figures lived in New York during the 1830s and 1840s, including William Cullen Bryant, Washington Irving, Herman Melville, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, John Keese, Nathaniel Parker Willis, and Edgar Allan Poe. Public-minded members of the contemporaneous business elite lobbied for the establishment of Central Park, which in 1857 became the first landscaped park in an American city.
The Great Irish Famine brought a large influx of Irish immigrants, of whom over 200,000 were living in New York by 1860, upwards of a quarter of the city's population. There was also extensive immigration from the German provinces, where revolutions had disrupted societies, and Germans comprised another 25% of New York's population by 1860.Democratic Party candidates were consistently elected to local office, increasing the city's ties to the South and its dominant party. In 1861, Mayor Fernando Wood called upon the aldermen to declare independence from Albany and the United States after the South seceded, but his proposal was not acted on. Anger at new military conscription laws during the American Civil War (1861–1865), which spared wealthier men who could afford to pay a $300 (equivalent to $6,105 in 2018) commutation fee to hire a substitute, led to the Draft Riots of 1863, whose most visible participants were ethnic Irish working class.The situation deteriorated into attacks on New York's elite, followed by attacks on Black New Yorkers and their property after fierce competition for a decade between Irish immigrants and black people for work. Rioters burned the Colored Orphan Asylum to the ground, with more than 200 children escaping harm due to efforts of the New York Police Department, which was mainly made up of Irish immigrants. At least 120 people were killed. Eleven Black men were lynched over five days, and the riots forced hundreds of Blacks to flee the city for Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. The black population in Manhattan fell below 10,000 by 1865, which it had last been in 1820. The white working class had established dominance. Violence by longshoremen against Black men was especially fierce in the docks area. It was one of the worst incidents of civil unrest in American history.
In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then a separate city), the County of New York (which then included parts of the Bronx), the County of Richmond, and the western portion of the County of Queens. The opening of the subway in 1904, first built as separate private systems, helped bind the new city together. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world center for industry, commerce, and communication.
In 1904, the steamship General Slocum caught fire in the East River, killing 1,021 people on board. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the city's worst industrial disaster, took the lives of 146 garment workers and spurred the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and major improvements in factory safety standards.
New York's non-white population was 36,620 in 1890. New York City was a prime destination in the early twentieth century for African Americans during the Great Migration from the American South, and by 1916, New York City had become home to the largest urban African diaspora in North America. The Harlem Renaissance of literary and cultural life flourished during the era of Prohibition. The larger economic boom generated construction of skyscrapers competing in height and creating an identifiable skyline.
New York became the most populous urbanized area in the world in the early 1920s, overtaking London. The metropolitan area surpassed the 10 million mark in the early 1930s, becoming the first megacity in human history. The difficult years of the Great Depression saw the election of reformer Fiorello La Guardia as mayor and the fall of Tammany Hall after eighty years of political dominance.Returning World War II veterans created a post-war economic boom and the development of large housing tracts in eastern Queens and Nassau County as well as similar suburban areas in New Jersey. New York emerged from the war unscathed as the leading city of the world, with Wall Street leading America's place as the world's dominant economic power. The United Nations Headquarters was completed in 1952, solidifying New York's global geopolitical influence, and the rise of abstract expressionism in the city precipitated New York's displacement of Paris as the center of the art world.
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights. Wayne R. Dynes, author of the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, wrote that drag queens were the only "transgender folks around" during the June 1969 Stonewall riots. "None of them in fact made a major contribution to the movement." Others say the transgender community in New York City played a significant role in fighting for LGBT equality during the period of the Stonewall riots and thereafter.In the 1970s, job losses due to industrial restructuring caused New York City to suffer from economic problems and rising crime rates. While a resurgence in the financial industry greatly improved the city's economic health in the 1980s, New York's crime rate continued to increase through that decade and into the beginning of the 1990s. By the mid 1990s, crime rates started to drop dramatically due to revised police strategies, improving economic opportunities, gentrification, and new residents, both American transplants and new immigrants from Asia and Latin America. Important new sectors, such as Silicon Alley, emerged in the city's economy. New York's population reached all-time highs in the 2000 Census and then again in the 2010 Census.
New York suffered the bulk of the economic damage and largest loss of human life in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Two of the four airliners highjacked that day were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, destroying them and killing 2,192 civilians, 343 firefighters, and 71 law enforcement officers. The North Tower became the tallest building ever to be destroyed anywhere then or subsequently.The rebuilding of the area has created a new One World Trade Center, and a 9/11 memorial and museum along with other new buildings and infrastructure. The World Trade Center PATH station, which had opened on July 19, 1909 as the Hudson Terminal, was also destroyed in the attack. A temporary station was built and opened on November 23, 2003. An 800,000-square-foot (74,000 m2) permanent rail station designed by Santiago Calatrava, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the city's third-largest hub, was completed in 2016. The new One World Trade Center is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth-tallest building in the world by pinnacle height, with its spire reaching a symbolic 1,776 feet (541.3 m) in reference to the year of U.S. independence.The Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan began on September 17, 2011, receiving global attention and popularizing the Occupy movement against social and economic inequality worldwide.
New York City is situated in the Northeastern United States, in southeastern New York State, approximately halfway between Washington, D.C. and Boston. The location at the mouth of the Hudson River, which feeds into a naturally sheltered harbor and then into the Atlantic Ocean, has helped the city grow in significance as a trading port. Most of New York City is built on the three islands of Long Island, Manhattan, and Staten Island.
The Hudson River flows through the Hudson Valley into New York Bay. Between New York City and Troy, New York, the river is an estuary. The Hudson River separates the city from the U.S. state of New Jersey. The East River—a tidal strait—flows from Long Island Sound and separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island. The Harlem River, another tidal strait between the East and Hudson Rivers, separates most of Manhattan from the Bronx. The Bronx River, which flows through the Bronx and Westchester County, is the only entirely fresh water river in the city.The city's land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times; reclamation is most prominent in Lower Manhattan, with developments such as Battery Park City in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the natural relief in topography has been evened out, especially in Manhattan.The city's total area is 468.484 square miles (1,213.37 km2), including 302.643 sq mi (783.84 km2) of land and 165.841 sq mi (429.53 km2) of this is water.
The highest point in the city is Todt Hill on Staten Island, which, at 409.8 feet (124.9 m) above sea level, is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine. The summit of the ridge is mostly covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt.
New York has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles and from distinct time periods, from the saltbox style Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House in Brooklyn, the oldest section of which dates to 1656, to the modern One World Trade Center, the skyscraper at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan and the most expensive office tower in the world by construction cost.Manhattan's skyline, with its many skyscrapers, is universally recognized, and the city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world. As of 2019, New York City had 6,455 high-rise buildings, the third most in world after Hong Kong and Seoul. Of these, as of 2011, 550 completed structures were at least 330 feet (100 m) high, the second most in the world after Hong Kong, with over 50 completed skyscrapers taller than 656 feet (200 m). These include the Woolworth Building, an early example of Gothic Revival architecture in skyscraper design, built with massively scaled Gothic detailing; completed in 1913, for 17 years it was the world's tallest building.The 1916 Zoning Resolution required setbacks in new buildings and restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below. The Art Deco style of the Chrysler Building (1930) and Empire State Building (1931), with their tapered tops and steel spires, reflected the zoning requirements. The buildings have distinctive ornamentation, such as the eagles at the corners of the 61st floor on the Chrysler Building, and are considered some of the finest examples of the Art Deco style. A highly influential example of the international style in the United States is the Seagram Building (1957), distinctive for its façade using visible bronze-toned I-beams to evoke the building's structure. The Condé Nast Building (2000) is a prominent example of green design in American skyscrapers and has received an award from the American Institute of Architects and AIA New York State for its design.
The character of New York's large residential districts is often defined by the elegant brownstone rowhouses and townhouses and shabby tenements that were built during a period of rapid expansion from 1870 to 1930. In contrast, New York City also has neighborhoods that are less densely populated and feature free-standing dwellings. In neighborhoods such as Riverdale (in the Bronx), Ditmas Park (in Brooklyn), and Douglaston (in Queens), large single-family homes are common in various architectural styles such as Tudor Revival and Victorian.Stone and brick became the city's building materials of choice after the construction of wood-frame houses was limited in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1835. A distinctive feature of many of the city's buildings is the roof-mounted wooden water tower. In the 1800s, the city required their installation on buildings higher than six stories to prevent the need for excessively high water pressures at lower elevations, which could break municipal water pipes. Garden apartments became popular during the 1920s in outlying areas, such as Jackson Heights.According to the United States Geological Survey, an updated analysis of seismic hazard in July 2014 revealed a "slightly lower hazard for tall buildings" in New York City than previously assessed. Scientists estimated this lessened risk based upon a lower likelihood than previously thought of slow shaking near the city, which would be more likely to cause damage to taller structures from an earthquake in the vicinity of the city.
New York City is often referred to collectively as the five boroughs, and in turn, there are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods throughout the boroughs, many with a definable history and character to call their own. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States (Staten island would be ranked 37th) ; these same boroughs are coterminous with the four most densely populated counties in the United States (New York [Manhattan], Kings [Brooklyn], Bronx, and Queens).
Manhattan (New York County) is the geographically smallest and most densely populated borough, is home to Central Park and most of the city's skyscrapers, and may be locally known simply as The City. Manhattan's (New York County's) population density of 72,033 people per square mile (27,812/km²) in 2015 makes it the highest of any county in the United States and higher than the density of any individual American city. Manhattan is the cultural, administrative, and financial center of New York City and contains the headquarters of many major multinational corporations, the United Nations Headquarters, Wall Street, and a number of important universities. Manhattan is often described as the financial and cultural center of the world.Most of the borough is situated on Manhattan Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River. Several small islands also compose part of the borough of Manhattan, including Randall's Island, Wards Island, and Roosevelt Island in the East River, and Governors Island and Liberty Island to the south in New York Harbor. Manhattan Island is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem. The borough also includes a small neighborhood on the United States mainland, called Marble Hill, which is contiguous with The Bronx. New York City's remaining four boroughs are collectively referred to as the outer boroughs.Brooklyn (Kings County), on the western tip of Long Island, is the city's most populous borough. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social, and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods, and a distinctive architectural heritage. Downtown Brooklyn is the largest central core neighborhood in the outer boroughs. The borough has a long beachfront shoreline including Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country. Marine Park and Prospect Park are the two largest parks in Brooklyn. Since 2010, Brooklyn has evolved into a thriving hub of entrepreneurship and high technology startup firms, and of postmodern art and design.Queens (Queens County), on Long Island north and east of Brooklyn, is geographically the largest borough, the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, and the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, the borough has since developed both commercial and residential prominence. Downtown Flushing has become one of the busiest central core neighborhoods in the outer boroughs. Queens is the site of Citi Field, the baseball stadium of the New York Mets, and hosts the annual U.S. Open tennis tournament at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Additionally, two of the three busiest airports serving the New York metropolitan area, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, are located in Queens. (The third is Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.)Staten Island (Richmond County) is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and to Manhattan by way of the free Staten Island Ferry, a daily commuter ferry which provides unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. In central Staten Island, the Staten Island Greenbelt spans approximately 2,500 acres (10 km2), including 28 miles (45 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks.The Bronx (Bronx County) is New York City's northernmost borough and the only New York City borough with a majority of it a part of the mainland United States. It is the location of Yankee Stadium, the baseball park of the New York Yankees, and home to the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City. It is also home to the Bronx Zoo, the world's largest metropolitan zoo, which spans 265 acres (1.07 km2) and houses over 6,000 animals. The Bronx is also the birthplace of rap and hip hop culture. Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in New York City, at 2,772 acres (1,122 ha).
Under the Köppen climate classification, using the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm, New York City features a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), and is thus the northernmost major city on the North American continent with this categorization. The suburbs to the immediate north and west lie in the transitional zone between humid subtropical and humid continental climates (Dfa). For the Trewartha classification, it is defined as an oceanic climate (Do). Annually, the city averages 234 days with at least some sunshine. The city lies in the USDA 7b plant hardiness zone.Winters are cold and damp, and prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore temper the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean; yet the Atlantic and the partial shielding from colder air by the Appalachian Mountains keep the city warmer in the winter than inland North American cities at similar or lesser latitudes such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. The daily mean temperature in January, the area's coldest month, is 32.6 °F (0.3 °C); temperatures usually drop to 10 °F (−12 °C) several times per winter, and reach 60 °F (16 °C) several days in the coldest winter month. Spring and autumn are unpredictable and can range from chilly to warm, although they are usually mild with low humidity. Summers are typically warm to hot and humid, with a daily mean temperature of 76.5 °F (24.7 °C) in July.Nighttime conditions are often exacerbated by the urban heat island phenomenon, while daytime temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on average of 17 days each summer and in some years exceed 100 °F (38 °C), although the last time this happened was July 23, 2011. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −15 °F (−26 °C), recorded on February 9, 1934, up to 106 °F (41 °C) on July 9, 1936; the coldest recorded wind chill was −37 °F (−38 °C) on the same day as the all-time record low. The record cold daily maximum was 2 °F (−17 °C) on December 30, 1917, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum was 84 °F (29 °C), last recorded on July 22, 2011. The average water temperature of the nearby Atlantic Ocean ranges from 39.7 °F (4.3 °C) in February to 74.1 °F (23.4 °C) in August.The city receives 49.9 inches (1,270 mm) of precipitation annually, which is relatively evenly spread throughout the year. Average winter snowfall between 1981 and 2010 has been 25.8 inches (66 cm); this varies considerably between years. Hurricanes and tropical storms are rare in the New York area. Hurricane Sandy brought a destructive storm surge to New York City on the evening of October 29, 2012, flooding numerous streets, tunnels, and subway lines in Lower Manhattan and other areas of the city and cutting off electricity in many parts of the city and its suburbs. The storm and its profound impacts have prompted the discussion of constructing seawalls and other coastal barriers around the shorelines of the city and the metropolitan area to minimize the risk of destructive consequences from another such event in the future.
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The City of New York has a complex park system, with various lands operated by the National Park Service, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
In its 2018 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land reported that the park system in New York City was the ninth best park system among the fifty most populous U.S. cities. ParkScore ranks urban park systems by a formula that analyzes median park size, park acres as percent of city area, the percent of city residents within a half-mile of a park, spending of park services per resident, and the number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents.
Gateway National Recreation Area contains over 26,000 acres (10,521.83 ha) in total, most of it surrounded by New York City, including the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. In Brooklyn and Queens, the park contains over 9,000 acres (36 km2) of salt marsh, wetlands, islands, and water, including most of Jamaica Bay. Also in Queens, the park includes a significant portion of the western Rockaway Peninsula, most notably Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden. In Staten Island, Gateway National Recreation Area includes Fort Wadsworth, with historic pre-Civil War era Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins, and Great Kills Park, with beaches, trails, and a marina.
The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Immigration Museum are managed by the National Park Service and are in both the states of New York and New Jersey. They are joined in the harbor by Governors Island National Monument, in New York. Historic sites under federal management on Manhattan Island include Castle Clinton National Monument; Federal Hall National Memorial; Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site; General Grant National Memorial ("Grant's Tomb"); African Burial Ground National Monument; and Hamilton Grange National Memorial. Hundreds of private properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or as a National Historic Landmark such as, for example, the Stonewall Inn, part of the Stonewall National Monument in Greenwich Village, as the catalyst of the modern gay rights movement.
There are seven state parks within the confines of New York City, including Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve, a natural area that includes extensive riding trails, and Riverbank State Park, a 28-acre (110,000 m2) facility that rises 69 feet (21 m) over the Hudson River.
New York City has over 28,000 acres (110 km2) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (23 km) of public beaches. The largest municipal park in the city is Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, with 2,772 acres (1,122 ha).
Central Park, an 843-acre (3.41 km2) park in middle-upper Manhattan, is the most visited urban park in the United States and one of the most filmed locations in the world, with 40 million visitors in 2013. The park contains a wide range of attractions; there are several lakes and ponds, two ice-skating rinks, the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, and the 106-acre (0.43 km2) Jackie Onassis Reservoir. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, and the historic Carousel. On October 23, 2012, hedge fund manager John A. Paulson announced a $100 million gift to the Central Park Conservancy, the largest ever monetary donation to New York City's park system.Washington Square Park is a prominent landmark in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. The Washington Square Arch at the northern gateway to the park is an iconic symbol of both New York University and Greenwich Village.Prospect Park in Brooklyn has a 90-acre (360,000 m2) meadow, a lake, and extensive woodlands. Within the park is the historic Battle Pass, prominent in the Battle of Long Island.Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, with its 897 acres (363 ha) making it the city's fourth largest park, was the setting for the 1939 World's Fair and the 1964 World's Fair and is host to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and the annual United States Open Tennis Championships tournament.Over a fifth of the Bronx's area, 7,000 acres (28 km2), is given over to open space and parks, including Pelham Bay Park, Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Botanical Gardens.In Staten Island, the Conference House Park contains the historic Conference House, site of the only attempt of a peaceful resolution to the American Revolution which was conducted in September 1775, attended by Benjamin Franklin representing the Americans and Lord Howe representing the British Crown. The historic Burial Ridge, the largest Native American burial ground within New York City, is within the park.
New York City is home to Fort Hamilton, the U.S. military's only active duty installation within the city. The Brooklyn facility was established in 1825 on the site of a small battery utilized during the American Revolution, and it is one of America's longest serving military forts. Today Fort Hamilton serves as the headquarters of the North Atlantic Division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and for the New York City Recruiting Battalion. It also houses the 1179th Transportation Brigade, the 722nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, and a military entrance processing station. Other formerly active military reservations still utilized for National Guard and military training or reserve operations in the city include Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island and Fort Totten in Queens.
New York City is the most populous city in the United States, with an estimated record high of 8,622,698 residents as of 2017, incorporating more immigration into the city than outmigration since the 2010 United States Census. More than twice as many people live in New York City as in the second-most populous U.S. city (Los Angeles), and within a smaller area. New York City gained more residents between April 2010 and July 2014 (316,000) than any other U.S. city. New York City's population is about 43% of New York State's population and about 36% of the population of the New York metropolitan area.
In 2017, the city had an estimated population density of 28,491 inhabitants per square mile (11,000/km2), rendering it the most densely populated of all municipalities housing over 100,000 residents in the United States, with several small cities (of fewer than 100,000) in adjacent Hudson County, New Jersey having greater density, as per the 2010 Census. Geographically co-extensive with New York County, the borough of Manhattan's 2017 population density of 72,918 inhabitants per square mile (28,154/km2) makes it the highest of any county in the United States and higher than the density of any individual American city.
Race and ethnicity
The city's population in 2010 was 44% white (33.3% non-Hispanic white), 25.5% black (23% non-Hispanic black), 0.7% Native American, and 12.7% Asian. Hispanics of any race represented 28.6% of the population, while Asians constituted the fastest-growing segment of the city's population between 2000 and 2010; the non-Hispanic white population declined 3 percent, the smallest recorded decline in decades; and for the first time since the Civil War, the number of blacks declined over a decade.
Throughout its history, New York has been a major port of entry for immigrants into the United States. More than 12 million European immigrants were received at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. The term "melting pot" was first coined to describe densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side. By 1900, Germans constituted the largest immigrant group, followed by the Irish, Jews, and Italians. In 1940, whites represented 92% of the city's population.Approximately 37% of the city's population is foreign born, and more than half of all children are born to mothers who are immigrants. In New York, no single country or region of origin dominates. The ten largest sources of foreign-born individuals in the city as of 2011 were the Dominican Republic, China, Mexico, Guyana, Jamaica, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Russia, and Trinidad and Tobago, while the Bangladeshi-born immigrant population has become one of the fastest growing in the city, counting over 74,000 by 2011.Asian Americans in New York City, according to the 2010 Census, number more than one million, greater than the combined totals of San Francisco and Los Angeles. New York contains the highest total Asian population of any U.S. city proper. The New York City borough of Queens is home to the state's largest Asian American population and the largest Andean (Colombian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Bolivian) populations in the United States, and is also the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.The Chinese population constitutes the fastest-growing nationality in New York State; multiple satellites of the original Manhattan Chinatown, in Brooklyn, and around Flushing, Queens, are thriving as traditionally urban enclaves – while also expanding rapidly eastward into suburban Nassau County on Long Island, as the New York metropolitan region and New York State have become the top destinations for new Chinese immigrants, respectively, and large-scale Chinese immigration continues into New York City and surrounding areas, with the largest metropolitan Chinese diaspora outside Asia, including an estimated 812,410 individuals in 2015.In 2012, 6.3% of New York City was of Chinese ethnicity, with nearly three-fourths living in either Queens or Brooklyn, geographically on Long Island. A community numbering 20,000 Korean-Chinese (Chaoxianzu or Joseonjok) is centered in Flushing, Queens, while New York City is also home to the largest Tibetan population outside China, India, and Nepal, also centered in Queens. Koreans made up 1.2% of the city's population, and Japanese 0.3%. Filipinos were the largest Southeast Asian ethnic group at 0.8%, followed by Vietnamese, who made up 0.2% of New York City's population in 2010. Indians are the largest South Asian group, comprising 2.4% of the city's population, with Bangladeshis and Pakistanis at 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively. Queens is the preferred borough of settlement for Asian Indians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Malaysians and other Southeast Asians; while Brooklyn is receiving large numbers of both West Indian and Asian Indian immigrants.
New York City has the largest European and non-Hispanic white population of any American city. At 2.7 million in 2012, New York's non-Hispanic white population is larger than the non-Hispanic white populations of Los Angeles (1.1 million), Chicago (865,000), and Houston (550,000) combined. The non-Hispanic white population was 6.6 million in 1940. The non-Hispanic white population has begun to increase since 2010.The European diaspora residing in the city is very diverse. According to 2012 Census estimates, there were roughly 560,000 Italian Americans, 385,000 Irish Americans, 253,000 German Americans, 223,000 Russian Americans, 201,000 Polish Americans, and 137,000 English Americans. Additionally, Greek and French Americans numbered 65,000 each, with those of Hungarian descent estimated at 60,000 people. Ukrainian and Scottish Americans numbered 55,000 and 35,000, respectively. People identifying ancestry from Spain numbered 30,838 total in 2010.People of Norwegian and Swedish descent both stood at about 20,000 each, while people of Czech, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Scotch-Irish, and Welsh descent all numbered between 12,000–14,000 people. Arab Americans number over 160,000 in New York City, with the highest concentration in Brooklyn. Central Asians, primarily Uzbek Americans, are a rapidly growing segment of the city's non-Hispanic white population, enumerating over 30,000, and including over half of all Central Asian immigrants to the United States, most settling in Queens or Brooklyn. Albanian Americans are most highly concentrated in the Bronx.The wider New York City metropolitan statistical area, with over 20 million people, about 50% greater than the second-place Los Angeles metropolitan area in the United States, is also ethnically diverse, with the largest foreign-born population of any metropolitan region in the world. The New York region continues to be by far the leading metropolitan gateway for legal immigrants admitted into the United States, substantially exceeding the combined totals of Los Angeles and Miami. It is home to the largest Jewish and Israeli communities outside Israel, with the Jewish population in the region numbering over 1.5 million in 2012 and including many diverse Jewish sects predominantly from around the Middle East and Eastern Europe.The metropolitan area is also home to 20% of the USA's Indian Americans and at least 20 Little India enclaves, and 15% of all Korean Americans and four Koreatowns; the largest Asian Indian population in the Western Hemisphere; the largest Russian American, Italian American, and African American populations; the largest Dominican American, Puerto Rican American, and South American and second-largest overall Hispanic population in the United States, numbering 4.8 million; and includes multiple established Chinatowns within New York City alone.Ecuador, Colombia, Guyana, Peru, and Brazil were the top source countries from South America for legal immigrants to the New York City region in 2013; the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean; Egypt, Ghana, and Nigeria from Africa; and El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala in Central America. Amidst a resurgence of Puerto Rican migration to New York City, this population had increased to approximately 1.3 million in the metropolitan area as of 2013.
Sexual orientation and gender identity
The New York metropolitan area is home to a prominent self-identifying gay and bisexual community estimated at nearly 570,000 individuals, the largest in the United States and one of the world's largest. Same-sex marriages in New York were legalized on June 24, 2011 and were authorized to take place beginning 30 days thereafter. Charles Kaiser, author of The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America, wrote that in the era after World War II, "New York City became the literal gay metropolis for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from within and without the United States: the place they chose to learn how to live openly, honestly and without shame."The annual New York City Pride March (or gay pride parade) traverses southward down Fifth Avenue and ends at Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan; the parade rivals the Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade as the largest pride parade in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants and millions of sidewalk spectators each June.
New York City is home to the largest transgender population in the world, estimated at more than 50,000 in 2018, concentrated in Manhattan and Queens. However, until the June 1969 Stonewall riots, this community had felt marginalized and neglected by the gay community.
Christianity (59%) — made up of Roman Catholicism (33%), Protestantism (23%), and other Christians (3%) — is the most prevalent religion in New York, as of 2014. It is followed by Judaism, with approximately 1.1 million adherents, over half of whom live in Brooklyn. The Jewish population makes up 18.4% of the city. Islam ranks third in New York City, with estimates ranging between 600,000 and 1,000,000 observers, including 10% of the city's public school children. These three largest groups are followed by Hinduism, Buddhism, and a variety of other religions, as well as atheism. In 2014, 24% of New Yorkers self-identified with no organized religious affiliation.
Wealth and income disparity
New York City has a high degree of income disparity as indicated by its Gini Coefficient of 0.5 for the city overall and 0.6 for Manhattan, as of 2006. (This is not unusual, as all large cities have greater income disparities than the nation overall.) In the first quarter of 2014, the average weekly wage in New York County (Manhattan) was $2,749, representing the highest total among large counties in the United States. As of 2017, New York City was home to the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world at 103, including former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. New York also had the highest density of millionaires per capita among major U.S. cities in 2014, at 4.6% of residents. New York City is one of the relatively few American cities levying an income tax (currently about 3%) on its residents.
City economic overview
New York is a global hub of business and commerce, as a center for banking and finance, retailing, world trade, transportation, tourism, real estate, new media, traditional media, advertising, legal services, accountancy, insurance, theater, fashion, and the arts in the United States; while Silicon Alley, metonymous for New York's broad-spectrum high technology sphere, continues to expand. The Port of New York and New Jersey is also a major economic engine, handling record cargo volume in 2017, over 6.7 million TEUs. New York City's unemployment rate fell to its record low of 4.0% in September 2018.Many Fortune 500 corporations are headquartered in New York City, as are a large number of multinational corporations. One out of ten private sector jobs in the city is with a foreign company. New York City has been ranked first among cities across the globe in attracting capital, business, and tourists. This ability to attract foreign investment helped New York City top the FDi Magazine American Cities of the Future ranking for 2013.As of 2013, the global advertising agencies of Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group, both based in Manhattan, had combined annual revenues of approximately US$21 billion, reflecting New York City's role as the top global center for the advertising industry, which is metonymously referred to as "Madison Avenue". The city's fashion industry provides approximately 180,000 employees with $11 billion in annual wages.Other important sectors include medical research and technology, non-profit institutions, and universities. Manufacturing accounts for a significant but declining share of employment, although the city's garment industry is showing a resurgence in Brooklyn. Food processing is a US$5 billion industry that employs more than 19,000 residents.
Chocolate is New York City's leading specialty-food export, with up to US$234 million worth of exports each year. Entrepreneurs were forming a "Chocolate District" in Brooklyn as of 2014, while Godiva, one of the world's largest chocolatiers, continues to be headquartered in Manhattan.
New York City's most important economic sector lies in its role as the headquarters for the U.S. financial industry, metonymously known as Wall Street. The city's securities industry, enumerating 163,400 jobs in August 2013, continues to form the largest segment of the city's financial sector and an important economic engine, accounting in 2012 for 5 percent of the city's private sector jobs, 8.5 percent (US$3.8 billion) of its tax revenue, and 22 percent of the city's total wages, including an average salary of US$360,700. Many large financial companies are headquartered in New York City, and the city is also home to a burgeoning number of financial startup companies.
Lower Manhattan is home to the New York Stock Exchange, on Wall Street, and the NASDAQ, at 165 Broadway, representing the world's largest and second largest stock exchanges, respectively, when measured both by overall average daily trading volume and by total market capitalization of their listed companies in 2013. Investment banking fees on Wall Street totaled approximately $40 billion in 2012, while in 2013, senior New York City bank officers who manage risk and compliance functions earned as much as $324,000 annually. In fiscal year 2013–14, Wall Street's securities industry generated 19% of New York State's tax revenue.New York City remains the largest global center for trading in public equity and debt capital markets, driven in part by the size and financial development of the U.S. economy. New York also leads in hedge fund management; private equity; and the monetary volume of mergers and acquisitions. Several investment banks and investment managers headquartered in Manhattan are important participants in other global financial centers. New York is also the principal commercial banking center of the United States.Many of the world's largest media conglomerates are also based in the city. Manhattan contained over 500 million square feet (46.5 million m2) of office space in 2015, making it the largest office market in the United States, while Midtown Manhattan, with nearly 400 million square feet (37.2 million m2) in 2015, is the largest central business district in the world.
Tech and biotech
Silicon Alley, centered in Manhattan, has evolved into a metonym for the sphere encompassing the New York City metropolitan region's high technology industries involving the Internet, new media, telecommunications, digital media, software development, game design, financial technology ("FinTech"), and other fields within information technology that are supported by its entrepreneurship ecosystem and venture capital investments. In 2015, Silicon Alley generated over US$7.3 billion in venture capital investment across a broad spectrum of high technology enterprises, most based in Manhattan, with others in Brooklyn, Queens, and elsewhere in the region.
High technology startup companies and employment are growing in New York City and the region, bolstered by the city's position in North America as the leading Internet hub and telecommunications center, including its vicinity to several transatlantic fiber optic trunk lines, New York's intellectual capital, and its extensive outdoor wireless connectivity. Verizon Communications, headquartered at 140 West Street in Lower Manhattan, was at the final stages in 2014 of completing a US$3 billion fiberoptic telecommunications upgrade throughout New York City. As of 2014, New York City hosted 300,000 employees in the tech sector. The technology sector has been claiming a greater share of New York City's economy since 2010. Tech:NYC, founded in 2016, is a non-profit organization which represents New York City’s technology industry with government, civic institutions, in business, and in the media, and whose primary goals are to further augment New York's substantial tech talent base and to advocate for policies that will nurture tech companies to grow in the city.The biotechnology sector is also growing in New York City, based upon the city's strength in academic scientific research and public and commercial financial support. On December 19, 2011, then Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced his choice of Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to build a US$2 billion graduate school of applied sciences called Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island with the goal of transforming New York City into the world's premier technology capital. By mid-2014, Accelerator, a biotech investment firm, had raised more than US$30 million from investors, including Eli Lilly and Company, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, for initial funding to create biotechnology startups at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, which encompasses more than 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2) on East 29th Street and promotes collaboration among scientists and entrepreneurs at the center and with nearby academic, medical, and research institutions. The New York City Economic Development Corporation's Early Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative and venture capital partners, including Celgene, General Electric Ventures, and Eli Lilly, committed a minimum of US$100 million to help launch 15 to 20 ventures in life sciences and biotechnology.
Real estate is a major force in the city's economy, as the total value of all New York City property was assessed at US$1.072 trillion for the 2017 fiscal year, an increase of 10.6% from the previous year, with 89% of the increase coming from market effects. The Time Warner Center is the property with the highest-listed market value in the city, at US$1.1 billion in 2006. New York City is home to some of the nation's—and the world's—most valuable real estate. 450 Park Avenue was sold on July 2, 2007 for US$510 million, about $1,589 per square foot ($17,104/m²), breaking the barely month-old record for an American office building of $1,476 per square foot ($15,887/m²) set in the June 2007 sale of 660 Madison Avenue.In 2014 Manhattan was home to six of the top ten ZIP Codes in the United States by median housing price. Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan commands the highest retail rents in the world, at US$3,000 per square foot ($32,000/m2) in 2017. In 2019, the most expensive home sale ever in the United States achieved completion in Manhattan, at a selling price of US$238 million, for a 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2) penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park.
Tourism is a vital industry for New York City, which has witnessed a growing combined volume of international and domestic tourists, receiving an eighth consecutive annual record of approximately 62.8 million visitors in 2017. Tourism had generated an all-time high US$61.3 billion in overall economic impact for New York City in 2014, pending 2015 statistics. Approximately 12 million visitors to New York City were from outside the United States, with the highest numbers from the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, and China.
I Love New York (stylized I ❤ NY) is both a logo and a song that are the basis of an advertising campaign and have been used since 1977 to promote tourism in New York City, and later to promote New York State as well. The trademarked logo, owned by New York State Empire State Development, appears in souvenir shops and brochures throughout the city and state, some licensed, many not. The song is the state song of New York.
Major tourist destinations include Times Square; Broadway theater productions; the Empire State Building; the Statue of Liberty; Ellis Island; the United Nations Headquarters; museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; greenspaces such as Central Park and Washington Square Park; Rockefeller Center; the Manhattan Chinatown; luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues; and events such as the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village; the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree; the St. Patrick's Day parade; seasonal activities such as ice skating in Central Park in the wintertime; the Tribeca Film Festival; and free performances in Central Park at Summerstage. Major attractions in the boroughs outside Manhattan include Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and the Unisphere in Queens; the Bronx Zoo; Coney Island, Brooklyn; and the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. The New York Wheel, a 630-foot ferris wheel, was under construction at the northern shore of Staten Island in 2015, overlooking the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, and the Lower Manhattan skyline.Manhattan was on track to have an estimated 90,000 hotel rooms at the end of 2014, a 10% increase from 2013. In October 2014, the Anbang Insurance Group, based in China, purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York for US$1.95 billion, making it the world's most expensive hotel ever sold.
Media and entertainment
New York is a prominent location for the American entertainment industry, with many films, television series, books, and other media being set there. As of 2012, New York City was the second largest center for filmmaking and television production in the United States, producing about 200 feature films annually, employing 130,000 individuals. The filmed entertainment industry has been growing in New York, contributing nearly US$9 billion to the New York City economy alone as of 2015. By volume, New York is the world leader in independent film production – one-third of all American independent films are produced in New York City. The Association of Independent Commercial Producers is also based in New York. In the first five months of 2014 alone, location filming for television pilots in New York City exceeded the record production levels for all of 2013, with New York surpassing Los Angeles as the top North American city for the same distinction during the 2013/2014 cycle.New York City is additionally a center for the advertising, music, newspaper, digital media, and publishing industries and is also the largest media market in North America. Some of the city's media conglomerates and institutions include Time Warner, the Thomson Reuters Corporation, the Associated Press, Bloomberg L.P., the News Corporation, The New York Times Company, NBCUniversal, the Hearst Corporation, AOL, and Viacom. Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks have their headquarters in New York. Two of the top three record labels' headquarters are in New York: Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. Universal Music Group also has offices in New York. New media enterprises are contributing an increasingly important component to the city's central role in the media sphere.
More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in the city, and the publishing industry employs about 25,000 people. Two of the three national daily newspapers in the United States are New York papers: The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, which has won the most Pulitzer Prizes for journalism. Major tabloid newspapers in the city include: The New York Daily News, which was founded in 1919 by Joseph Medill Patterson and The New York Post, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton. The city also has a comprehensive ethnic press, with 270 newspapers and magazines published in more than 40 languages. El Diario La Prensa is New York's largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest in the nation. The New York Amsterdam News, published in Harlem, is a prominent African American newspaper. The Village Voice, historically the largest alternative newspaper in the United States, announced in 2017 that it would cease publication of its print edition and convert to a fully digital venture.The television and radio industry developed in New York and is a significant employer in the city's economy. The three major American broadcast networks are all headquartered in New York: ABC, CBS, and NBC. Many cable networks are based in the city as well, including MTV, Fox News, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, Food Network, AMC, and Comedy Central. The City of New York operates a public broadcast service, NYC Media, that has produced several original Emmy Award-winning shows covering music and culture in city neighborhoods and city government. WBAI, with news and information programming, is one of the few socialist radio stations operating in the United States.
New York is also a major center for non-commercial educational media. The oldest public-access television channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, founded in 1971. WNET is the city's major public television station and a primary source of national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television programming. WNYC, a public radio station owned by the city until 1997, has the largest public radio audience in the United States.
Education and scholarly activity
Primary and secondary education
The New York City Public Schools system, managed by the New York City Department of Education, is the largest public school system in the United States, serving about 1.1 million students in more than 1,700 separate primary and secondary schools. The city's public school system includes nine specialized high schools to serve academically and artistically gifted students. The city government pays the Pelham Public Schools to educate a very small, detached section of the Bronx.
The New York City Charter School Center assists the setup of new charter schools. There are approximately 900 additional privately run secular and religious schools in the city.
Higher education and research
Over 600,000 students are enrolled in New York City's over 120 higher education institutions, the highest number of any city in the United States and higher than other major global cities like London and Tokyo, including over half million in the City University of New York (CUNY) system alone in 2014. In 2005, three out of five Manhattan residents were college graduates, and one out of four had a postgraduate degree, forming one of the highest concentrations of highly educated people in any American city. New York City is home to such notable private universities as Barnard College, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, Mercy College, New York University, New York Institute of Technology, Pace University, Rockefeller University, and Yeshiva University; several of these universities are ranked among the top universities in the world.The public CUNY system is one of the largest universities in the nation, comprising 24 institutions across all five boroughs: senior colleges, community colleges, and other graduate/professional schools. The public State University of New York (SUNY) system serves New York City, as well as the rest of the state. The city also has other smaller private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions, such as St. John's University, The Juilliard School, Manhattan College, The College of Mount Saint Vincent, Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons School of Design, The New School, Pratt Institute, The School of Visual Arts, The King's College, and Wagner College.
Much of the scientific research in the city is done in medicine and the life sciences. New York City has the most postgraduate life sciences degrees awarded annually in the United States, with 127 Nobel laureates having roots in local institutions as of 2005; while in 2012, 43,523 licensed physicians were practicing in New York City. Major biomedical research institutions include Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Weill Cornell Medical College, being joined by the Cornell University/Technion-Israel Institute of Technology venture on Roosevelt Island. The graduates of SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx earned the highest average annual salary of any university graduates in the United States, US$144,000 as of 2017.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) operates the public hospitals and clinics in New York City. A public benefit corporation with $6.7 billion in annual revenues, HHC is the largest municipal healthcare system in the United States serving 1.4 million patients, including more than 475,000 uninsured city residents. HHC was created in 1969 by the New York State Legislature as a public benefit corporation (Chapter 1016 of the Laws 1969). HHC operates 11 acute care hospitals, five nursing homes, six diagnostic and treatment centers, and more than 70 community-based primary care sites, serving primarily the poor and working class. HHC's MetroPlus Health Plan is one of the New York area's largest providers of government-sponsored health insurance and is the plan of choice for nearly half million New Yorkers.HHC's facilities annually provide millions of New Yorkers services interpreted in more than 190 languages. The most well-known hospital in the HHC system is Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the United States. Bellevue is the designated hospital for treatment of the President of the United States and other world leaders if they become sick or injured while in New York City. The president of HHC is Ramanathan Raju, MD, a surgeon and former CEO of the Cook County health system in Illinois. In August 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation outlawing pharmacies from selling cigarettes once their existing licenses to do so expired, beginning in 2018.
Police and law enforcement
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has been the largest police force in the United States by a significant margin, with over 35,000 sworn officers. Members of the NYPD are frequently referred to by politicians, the media, and their own police cars by the nickname, New York's Finest.
Crime has continued an overall downward trend in New York City since the 1990s. In 2012, the NYPD came under scrutiny for its use of a stop-and-frisk program, which has undergone several policy revisions since then. In 2014, New York City had the third lowest murder rate among the largest U.S. cities, having become significantly safer after a spike in crime in the 1970s through 1990s. Violent crime in New York City decreased more than 75% from 1993 to 2005, and continued decreasing during periods when the nation as a whole saw increases. By 2002, New York City's crime rate was similar to that of Provo, Utah, and was ranked 197th in crime among the 216 U.S. cities with populations greater than 100,000. In 2005, the homicide rate was at its lowest level since 1966, and in 2007, the city recorded fewer than 500 homicides for the first time ever since crime statistics were first published in 1963. In 2017, 60.1% of violent crime suspects were Black, 29.6% Hispanic, 6.5% White, 3.6% Asian and 0.2% American Indian. New York City experienced 292 homicides in 2017,Sociologists and criminologists have not reached consensus on the explanation for the dramatic decrease in the city's crime rate. Some attribute the phenomenon to new tactics used by the NYPD, including its use of CompStat and the broken windows theory. Others cite the end of the crack epidemic and demographic changes, including from immigration. Another theory is that widespread exposure to lead pollution from automobile exhaust, which can lower intelligence and increase aggression levels, incited the initial crime wave in the mid-20th century, most acutely affecting heavily trafficked cities like New York. A strong correlation was found demonstrating that violent crime rates in New York and other big cities began to fall after lead was removed from American gasoline in the 1970s. Another theory cited to explain New York City's falling homicide rate is the inverse correlation between the number of murders and the increasingly wetter climate in the city.Organized crime has long been associated with New York City, beginning with the Forty Thieves and the Roach Guards in the Five Points in the 1820s. The 20th century saw a rise in the Mafia, dominated by the Five Families, as well as in gangs, including the Black Spades. The Mafia and gang presence has declined in the city in the 21st century.
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY), provides fire protection, technical rescue, primary response to biological, chemical, and radioactive hazards, and emergency medical services for the five boroughs of New York City. The FDNY is the largest municipal fire department in the United States and the second largest in the world after the Tokyo Fire Department. The FDNY employs approximately 11,080 uniformed firefighters and over 3,300 uniformed EMTs and paramedics. The FDNY's motto is New York's Bravest.
The fire department faces multifaceted firefighting challenges in many ways unique to New York. In addition to responding to building types that range from wood-frame single family homes to high-rise structures, there are many secluded bridges and tunnels, as well as large parks and wooded areas that can give rise to brush fires. New York is also home to one of the largest subway systems in the world, consisting of hundreds of miles of tunnel with electrified track.
The FDNY headquarters is located at 9 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn, and the FDNY Fire Academy is located on Randalls Island. There are three Bureau of Fire Communications alarm offices which receive and dispatch alarms to appropriate units. One office, at 11 Metrotech Center in Brooklyn, houses Manhattan/Citywide, Brooklyn, and Staten Island Fire Communications; the Bronx and Queens offices are in separate buildings.
Public library system
The New York Public Library, which has the largest collection of any public library system in the United States, serves Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Queens is served by the Queens Borough Public Library, the nation's second largest public library system, while the Brooklyn Public Library serves Brooklyn.
Culture and contemporary life
New York City has been described as the cultural capital of the world by the diplomatic consulates of Iceland and Latvia and by New York's Baruch College. A book containing a series of essays titled New York, Culture Capital of the World, 1940–1965 has also been published as showcased by the National Library of Australia. In describing New York, author Tom Wolfe said, "Culture just seems to be in the air, like part of the weather."Numerous major American cultural movements began in the city, such as the Harlem Renaissance, which established the African-American literary canon in the United States. The city was a center of jazz in the 1940s, abstract expressionism in the 1950s, and the birthplace of hip hop in the 1970s. The city's punk and hardcore scenes were influential in the 1970s and 1980s. New York has long had a flourishing scene for Jewish American literature.
The city is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art; abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting; and hip hop, punk, salsa, freestyle, Tin Pan Alley, certain forms of jazz, and (along with Philadelphia) disco in music. New York City has been considered the dance capital of the world. The city is also frequently the setting for novels, movies (see List of films set in New York City), and television programs. New York Fashion Week is one of the world's preeminent fashion events and is afforded extensive coverage by the media.
New York has also frequently been ranked the top fashion capital of the world on the annual list compiled by the Global Language Monitor.
One of the most common traits attributed to New York City is its fast pace, which spawned the term New York minute. Journalist Walt Whitman characterized New York's streets as being traversed by "hurrying, feverish, electric crowds".
New York City has more than 2,000 arts and cultural organizations and more than 500 art galleries of all sizes. The city government funds the arts with a larger annual budget than the National Endowment for the Arts. Wealthy business magnates in the 19th century built a network of major cultural institutions, such as the famed Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, that would become internationally established. The advent of electric lighting led to elaborate theater productions, and in the 1880s, New York City theaters on Broadway and along 42nd Street began featuring a new stage form that became known as the Broadway musical. Strongly influenced by the city's immigrants, productions such as those of Harrigan and Hart, George M. Cohan, and others used song in narratives that often reflected themes of hope and ambition. New York City itself is the subject or background of many plays and musicals.
Broadway theatre is one of the premier forms of English-language theatre in the world, named after Broadway, the major thoroughfare that crosses Times Square, also sometimes referred to as "The Great White Way". Forty-one venues in Midtown Manhattan's Theatre District, each with at least 500 seats, are classified as Broadway theatres. According to The Broadway League, Broadway shows sold approximately US$1.27 billion worth of tickets in the 2013–2014 season, an 11.4% increase from US$1.139 billion in the 2012–2013 season. Attendance in 2013–2014 stood at 12.21 million, representing a 5.5% increase from the 2012–2013 season's 11.57 million. Performance artists displaying diverse skills are ubiquitous on the streets of Manhattan.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, anchoring Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is home to numerous influential arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet, as well as the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the Juilliard School, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Alice Tully Hall. The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute is in Union Square, and Tisch School of the Arts is based at New York University, while Central Park SummerStage presents free music concerts in Central Park.
New York City is home to hundreds of cultural institutions and historic sites, many of which are internationally known.
Museum Mile is the name for a section of Fifth Avenue running from 82nd to 105th streets on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in an area sometimes called Upper Carnegie Hill. The Mile, which contains one of the densest displays of culture in the world, is actually three blocks longer than one mile (1.6 km). Ten museums occupy the length of this section of Fifth Avenue. The tenth museum, the Museum for African Art, joined the ensemble in 2009, although its museum at 110th Street, the first new museum constructed on the Mile since the Guggenheim in 1959, opened in late 2012. In addition to other programming, the museums collaborate for the annual Museum Mile Festival, held each year in June, to promote the museums and increase visitation. Many of the world's most lucrative art auctions are held in New York City.
New York City's food culture includes an array of international cuisines influenced by the city's immigrant history. Central and Eastern European immigrants, especially Jewish immigrants from those regions, brought bagels, cheesecake, hot dogs, knishes, and delicatessens (or delis) to the city. Italian immigrants brought New York-style pizza and Italian cuisine into the city, while Jewish immigrants and Irish immigrants brought pastrami and corned beef, respectively. Chinese and other Asian restaurants, sandwich joints, trattorias, diners, and coffeehouses are ubiquitous throughout the city. Some 4,000 mobile food vendors licensed by the city, many immigrant-owned, have made Middle Eastern foods such as falafel and kebabs examples of modern New York street food. The city is home to "nearly one thousand of the finest and most diverse haute cuisine restaurants in the world", according to Michelin. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene assigns letter grades to the city's 24,000 restaurants based upon their inspection results.
New York City is well known for its street parades, which celebrate a broad array of themes, including holidays, nationalities, human rights, and major league sports team championship victories. The majority of parades are held in Manhattan. The primary orientation of the annual street parades is typically from north to south, marching along major avenues. The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the world's largest parade, beginning alongside Central Park and processing southward to the flagship Macy's Herald Square store; the parade is viewed on telecasts worldwide and draws millions of spectators in person. Other notable parades including the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in March, the LGBT Pride March in June, the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in October, and numerous parades commemorating the independence days of many nations. Ticker-tape parades celebrating championships won by sports teams as well as other heroic accomplishments march northward along the Canyon of Heroes on Broadway from Bowling Green to City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan.
Accent and dialect
The New York area is home to a distinctive regional speech pattern called the New York dialect, alternatively known as Brooklynese or New Yorkese. It has generally been considered one of the most recognizable accents within American English.The traditional New York area accent is characterized as non-rhotic, so that the sound [ɹ] does not appear at the end of a syllable or immediately before a consonant; therefore the pronunciation of the city name as "New Yawk." There is no [ɹ] in words like park [pɑək] or [pɒək] (with vowel backed and diphthongized due to the low-back chain shift), butter [bʌɾə], or here [hiə]. In another feature called the low back chain shift, the [ɔ] vowel sound of words like talk, law, cross, chocolate, and coffee and the often homophonous [ɔr] in core and more are tensed and usually raised more than in General American English. In the most old-fashioned and extreme versions of the New York dialect, the vowel sounds of words like "girl" and of words like "oil" became a diphthong [ɜɪ]. This is often misperceived by speakers of other accents as a reversal of the er and oy sounds, so that girl is pronounced "goil" and oil is pronounced "erl"; this leads to the caricature of New Yorkers saying things like "Joizey" (Jersey), "Toidy-Toid Street" (33rd St.) and "terlet" (toilet). The character Archie Bunker from the 1970s television sitcom All in the Family was an example of having used this pattern of speech.
The classic version of the New York City dialect is generally centered on middle and working-class New Yorkers. The influx of non-European immigrants in recent decades has led to changes in this distinctive dialect, and the traditional form of this speech pattern is no longer as prevalent among general New Yorkers as it has been in the past.
New York City is home to the headquarters of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer. The New York metropolitan area hosts the most sports teams in these five professional leagues. Participation in professional sports in the city predates all professional leagues, and the city has been continuously hosting professional sports since the birth of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1882. The city has played host to over forty major professional teams in the five sports and their respective competing leagues, both current and historic. Four of the ten most expensive stadiums ever built worldwide (MetLife Stadium, the new Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, and Citi Field) are located in the New York metropolitan area. Madison Square Garden, its predecessor, the original Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field, are sporting venues located in New York City, the latter two having been commemorated on U.S. postage stamps.
New York has been described as the "Capital of Baseball". There have been 35 Major League Baseball World Series and 73 pennants won by New York teams. It is one of only five metro areas (Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore–Washington, and the San Francisco Bay Area being the others) to have two baseball teams. Additionally, there have been 14 World Series in which two New York City teams played each other, known as a Subway Series and occurring most recently in 2000. No other metropolitan area has had this happen more than once (Chicago in 1906, St. Louis in 1944, and the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989). The city's two current Major League Baseball teams are the New York Mets, who play at Citi Field in Queens, and the New York Yankees, who play at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. These teams compete in six games of interleague play every regular season that has also come to be called the Subway Series. The Yankees have won a record 27 championships, while the Mets have won the World Series twice. The city also was once home to the Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers), who won the World Series once, and the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants), who won the World Series five times. Both teams moved to California in 1958. There are also two Minor League Baseball teams in the city, the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees.The city is represented in the National Football League by the New York Giants and the New York Jets, although both teams play their home games at MetLife Stadium in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey, which hosted Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.The metropolitan area is home to three National Hockey League teams. The New York Rangers, the traditional representative of the city itself and one of the league's Original Six, play at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. The New York Islanders, traditionally representing Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island, currently play at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and are planning a return to Nassau County by way of a new arena just outside the border with Queens at Belmont Park. The New Jersey Devils play at Prudential Center in nearby Newark, New Jersey and traditionally represent the counties of neighboring New Jersey which are coextensive with the boundaries of the New York metropolitan area and media market.
The city's National Basketball Association teams are the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks, while the New York Liberty is the city's Women's National Basketball Association team. The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city. The city is well known for its links to basketball, which is played in nearly every park in the city by local youth, many of whom have gone on to play for major college programs and in the NBA.
In soccer, New York City is represented by New York City FC of Major League Soccer, who play their home games at Yankee Stadium and the New York Red Bulls, who play their home games at Red Bull Arena in nearby Harrison, New Jersey. Historically, the city is known for the New York Cosmos, the highly successful former professional soccer team which was the American home of Pelé. A new version of the New York Cosmos was formed in 2010, and began play in the second division North American Soccer League in 2013. The Cosmos play their home games at James M. Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University, just outside the New York City limits in Hempstead, New York.
The annual United States Open Tennis Championships is one of the world's four Grand Slam tennis tournaments and is held at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens. The New York City Marathon, which courses through all five boroughs, is the world's largest running marathon, with 51,394 finishers in 2016 and 98,247 applicants for the 2017 race. The Millrose Games is an annual track and field meet whose featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. Boxing is also a prominent part of the city's sporting scene, with events like the Amateur Boxing Golden Gloves being held at Madison Square Garden each year. The city is also considered the host of the Belmont Stakes, the last, longest and oldest of horse racing's Triple Crown races, held just over the city's border at Belmont Park on the first or second Sunday of June. The city also hosted the 1932 U.S. Open golf tournament and the 1930 and 1939 PGA Championships, and has been host city for both events several times, most notably for nearby Winged Foot Golf Club. The Gaelic games are played in Riverdale, Bronx at Gaelic Park, home to the New York GAA, the only North American team to compete at the senior inter-county level.
New York City's comprehensive transportation system is both complex and extensive.
Mass transit in New York City, most of which runs 24 hours a day, accounts for one in every three users of mass transit in the United States, and two-thirds of the nation's rail riders live in the New York City Metropolitan Area.
The iconic New York City Subway system is the largest rapid transit system in the world when measured by stations in operation, with 472, and by length of routes. Nearly all of New York's subway system is open 24 hours a day, in contrast to the overnight shutdown common to systems in most cities, including Hong Kong, London, Paris, Seoul, and Tokyo. The New York City Subway is also the busiest metropolitan rail transit system in the Western Hemisphere, with 1.76 billion passenger rides in 2015, while Grand Central Terminal, also referred to as "Grand Central Station", is the world's largest railway station by number of train platforms.
Public transport is essential in New York City. 54.6% of New Yorkers commuted to work in 2005 using mass transit. This is in contrast to the rest of the United States, where 91% of commuters travel in automobiles to their workplace. According to the New York City Comptroller, workers in the New York City area spend an average of 6 hours and 18 minutes getting to work each week, the longest commute time in the nation among large cities. New York is the only US city in which a majority (52%) of households do not have a car; only 22% of Manhattanites own a car. Due to their high usage of mass transit, New Yorkers spend less of their household income on transportation than the national average, saving $19 billion annually on transportation compared to other urban Americans.New York City's commuter rail network is the largest in North America. The rail network, connecting New York City to its suburbs, consists of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and New Jersey Transit. The combined systems converge at Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station and contain more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines. In Queens, the elevated AirTrain people mover system connects JFK International Airport to the New York City Subway and the Long Island Rail Road; a separate AirTrain system is planned alongside the Grand Central Parkway to connect LaGuardia Airport to these transit systems. For intercity rail, New York City is served by Amtrak, whose busiest station by a significant margin is Pennsylvania Station on the West Side of Manhattan, from which Amtrak provides connections to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. along the Northeast Corridor, and long-distance train service to other North American cities.The Staten Island Railway rapid transit system solely serves Staten Island, operating 24 hours a day. The Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH train) links Midtown and Lower Manhattan to northeastern New Jersey, primarily Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark. Like the New York City Subway, the PATH operates 24 hours a day; meaning three of the six rapid transit systems in the world which operate on 24-hour schedules are wholly or partly in New York (the others are a portion of the Chicago 'L', the PATCO Speedline serving Philadelphia, and the Copenhagen Metro).
Multibillion-dollar heavy rail transit projects under construction in New York City include the Second Avenue Subway, the East Side Access project, and the 7 Subway Extension.
New York City's public bus fleet runs 24/7 and is the largest in North America. The Port Authority Bus Terminal, the main intercity bus terminal of the city, serves 7,000 buses and 200,000 commuters daily, making it the busiest bus station in the world.
New York's airspace is the busiest in the United States and one of the world's busiest air transportation corridors. The three busiest airports in the New York metropolitan area include John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport; 130.5 million travelers used these three airports in 2016, and the city's airspace is the busiest in the nation. JFK and Newark Liberty were the busiest and fourth busiest U.S. gateways for international air passengers, respectively, in 2012; as of 2011, JFK was the busiest airport for international passengers in North America. Plans have advanced to expand passenger volume at a fourth airport, Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, New York, by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Plans were announced in July 2015 to entirely rebuild LaGuardia Airport in a multibillion-dollar project to replace its aging facilities. Other commercial airports in or serving the New York metropolitan area include Long Island MacArthur Airport, Trenton–Mercer Airport and Westchester County Airport. The primary general aviation airport serving the area is Teterboro Airport.
The Staten Island Ferry is the world's busiest ferry route, carrying over 23 million passengers from July 2015 through June 2016 on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) route between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan and running 24 hours a day. Other ferry systems shuttle commuters between Manhattan and other locales within the city and the metropolitan area.
NYC Ferry, a NYCEDC initiative with routes planned to travel to all five boroughs, was launched in 2017, with second graders choosing the names of the ferries. Meanwhile, Seastreak ferry announced construction of a 600-passenger high-speed luxury ferry in September 2016, to shuttle riders between the Jersey Shore and Manhattan, anticipated to start service in 2017; this would be the largest vessel in its class.
Taxis, transport startups, and trams
Other features of the city's transportation infrastructure encompass more than 12,000 yellow taxicabs; various competing startup transportation network companies; and an aerial tramway that transports commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan Island. Ride-sharing services have become significant competition for cab drivers in New York.
Streets and highways
Despite New York's heavy reliance on its vast public transit system, streets are a defining feature of the city. Manhattan's street grid plan greatly influenced the city's physical development. Several of the city's streets and avenues, like Broadway, Wall Street, Madison Avenue, and Seventh Avenue are also used as metonyms for national industries there: the theater, finance, advertising, and fashion organizations, respectively.
New York City also has an extensive web of expressways and parkways, which link the city's boroughs to each other and to northern New Jersey, Westchester County, Long Island, and southwestern Connecticut through various bridges and tunnels. Because these highways serve millions of outer borough and suburban residents who commute into Manhattan, it is quite common for motorists to be stranded for hours in traffic jams that are a daily occurrence, particularly during rush hour.New York City is also known for its rules regarding turning at red lights. Unlike the rest of the United States, New York State prohibits right or left turns on red in cities with a population greater than one million, to reduce traffic collisions and increase pedestrian safety. In New York City, therefore, all turns at red lights are illegal unless a sign permitting such maneuvers is present.
New York City is located on one of the world's largest natural harbors, and the boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island are (primarily) coterminous with islands of the same names, while Queens and Brooklyn are located at the west end of the larger Long Island, and The Bronx is located at the southern tip of New York State's mainland. This situation of boroughs separated by water led to the development of an extensive infrastructure of well-known bridges and tunnels.
The George Washington Bridge is the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge, connecting Manhattan to Bergen County, New Jersey. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Americas and one of the world's longest. The Brooklyn Bridge is an icon of the city itself. The towers of the Brooklyn Bridge are built of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement, and their architectural style is neo-Gothic, with characteristic pointed arches above the passageways through the stone towers. This bridge was also the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and is the first steel-wire suspension bridge. The Queensboro Bridge is an important piece of cantilever architecture. The Manhattan Bridge, opened in 1909, is considered to be the forerunner of modern suspension bridges, and its design served as the model for many of the long-span suspension bridges around the world; the Manhattan Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Triborough Bridge, and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge are all examples of Structural Expressionism.Manhattan Island is linked to New York City's outer boroughs and New Jersey by several tunnels as well. The Lincoln Tunnel, which carries 120,000 vehicles a day under the Hudson River between New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan, is the busiest vehicular tunnel in the world. The tunnel was built instead of a bridge to allow unfettered passage of large passenger and cargo ships that sailed through New York Harbor and up the Hudson River to Manhattan's piers. The Holland Tunnel, connecting Lower Manhattan to Jersey City, New Jersey, was the world's first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel when it opened in 1927. The Queens-Midtown Tunnel, built to relieve congestion on the bridges connecting Manhattan with Queens and Brooklyn, was the largest non-federal project in its time when it was completed in 1940. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first person to drive through it. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (officially known as the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel) runs underneath Battery Park and connects the Financial District at the southern tip of Manhattan to Red Hook in Brooklyn.
Environmental impact reduction
New York City has focused on reducing its environmental impact and carbon footprint. Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in the United States. Also, by 2010, the city had 3,715 hybrid taxis and other clean diesel vehicles, representing around 28% of New York's taxi fleet in service, the most of any city in North America.New York's high rate of public transit use, over 200,000 daily cyclists as of 2014, and many pedestrian commuters make it the most energy-efficient major city in the United States. Walk and bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city; nationally the rate for metro regions is about 8%. In both its 2011 and 2015 rankings, Walk Score named New York City the most walkable large city in the United States, and in 2018, Stacker ranked New York the most walkable U.S. city. Citibank sponsored the introduction of 10,000 public bicycles for the city's bike-share project in the summer of 2013. New York City's numerical "in-season cycling indicator" of bicycling in the city had hit an all-time high of 437 when measured in 2014.The city government was a petitioner in the landmark Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency Supreme Court case forcing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants. The city is a leader in the construction of energy-efficient green office buildings, including the Hearst Tower among others. Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between 2014 and 2050 to reduce the city's contributions to climate change, beginning with a comprehensive "Green Buildings" plan.
Water purity and availability
New York City is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed. As a result of the watershed's integrity and undisturbed natural water filtration system, New York is one of only four major cities in the United States the majority of whose drinking water is pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants. The city's municipal water system is the largest in the United States, moving over one billion gallons of water per day. The Croton Watershed north of the city is undergoing construction of a US$3.2 billion water purification plant to augment New York City's water supply by an estimated 290 million gallons daily, representing a greater than 20% addition to the city's current availability of water. The ongoing expansion of New York City Water Tunnel No. 3, an integral part of the New York City water supply system, is the largest capital construction project in the city's history, with segments serving Manhattan and The Bronx completed, and with segments serving Brooklyn and Queens planned for construction in 2020. In 2018, New York City announced a US$1 billion investment to protect the integrity of its water system and to maintain the purity of its unfiltered water supply.
According to the 2016 World Health Organization Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, the annual average concentration in New York City's air of particulate matter measuring 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5) was 7 micrograms per cubic meter, or 3 micrograms below the recommended limit of the WHO Air Quality Guidelines for the annual mean PM2.5. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in partnership with Queens College, conducts the New York Community Air Survey to measure pollutants at about 150 locations.
Newtown Creek, a 3.5-mile (6-kilometer) a long estuary that forms part of the border between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, has been designated a Superfund site for environmental clean-up and remediation of the waterway's recreational and economic resources for many communities. One of the most heavily used bodies of water in the Port of New York and New Jersey, it had been one of the most contaminated industrial sites in the country, containing years of discarded toxins, an estimated 30 million US gallons (110,000 m3) of spilled oil, including the Greenpoint oil spill, raw sewage from New York City's sewer system, and other accumulation.
Government and politics
New York City has been a metropolitan municipality with a mayor–council form of government since its consolidation in 1898. In New York City, the city government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply, and welfare services.
The Mayor and council members are elected to four-year terms. The City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 council members whose districts are defined by geographic population boundaries. Each term for the mayor and council members lasts four years and has a three consecutive-term limit, which is reset after a four-year break. The New York City Administrative Code, the New York City Rules, and the City Record are the code of local laws, compilation of regulations, and official journal, respectively.
Each borough is coextensive with a judicial district of the state Unified Court System, of which the Criminal Court and the Civil Court are the local courts, while the New York Supreme Court conducts major trials and appeals. Manhattan hosts the First Department of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division while Brooklyn hosts the Second Department. There are also several extrajudicial administrative courts, which are executive agencies and not part of the state Unified Court System.
Uniquely among major American cities, New York is divided between, and is host to the main branches of, two different US district courts: the District Court for the Southern District of New York, whose main courthouse is on Foley Square near City Hall in Manhattan and whose jurisdiction includes Manhattan and the Bronx; and the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, whose main courthouse is in Brooklyn and whose jurisdiction includes Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and US Court of International Trade are also based in New York, also on Foley Square in Manhattan.
The present mayor is Bill de Blasio, the first Democrat since 1993. He was elected in 2013 with over 73% of the vote, and assumed office on January 1, 2014.
The Democratic Party holds the majority of public offices. As of April 2016, 69% of registered voters in the city are Democrats and 10% are Republicans. New York City has not been carried by a Republican in a statewide or presidential election since President Calvin Coolidge won the five boroughs in 1924. In 2012, Democrat Barack Obama became the first presidential candidate of any party to receive more than 80% of the overall vote in New York City, sweeping all five boroughs. Party platforms center on affordable housing, education, and economic development, and labor politics are of importance in the city.
New York is the most important source of political fundraising in the United States, as four of the top five ZIP Codes in the nation for political contributions are in Manhattan. The top ZIP Code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the 2004 presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry. The city has a strong imbalance of payments with the national and state governments. It receives 83 cents in services for every $1 it sends to the federal government in taxes (or annually sends $11.4 billion more than it receives back). City residents and businesses also sent an additional $4.1 billion in the 2009–2010 fiscal year to the state of New York than the city received in return.
In 2006, the Sister City Program of the City of New York, Inc. was restructured and renamed New York City Global Partners. Through this program, New York City has expanded its international outreach to a network of cities worldwide, promoting the exchange of ideas and innovation between their citizenry and policymakers. New York's historic sister cities are denoted below by the year they joined New York City's partnership network.
New York City consists of five boroughs, which are five separate counties. Each borough has a unique culture and could be a large city in its own right. Within each borough individual neighborhoods, some only a few blocks in size, have personalities lauded in music and film. Where you live, work, and play in New York says something to New Yorkers about who you are.
The five New York boroughs are:
New York City is a major global center of international finance, politics, communications, film, music, fashion, and culture, and is among the world's most important and influential cities. It is home to many world-class museums, art galleries, and theaters. Many of the world's largest corporations have their headquarters here. The headquarters of the United Nations is in New York and most countries have a consulate here. This city's influence on the world and all its inhabitants is hard to overstate, as decisions made within its boundaries often have impacts and ramifications around the globe.
Immigrants (and their descendants) from over 180 countries live here, making it one of, if not the most cosmopolitan city in the world. Travelers are attracted to New York City for its culture, energy and cosmopolitanism.
The first human settlers are believed to have arrived in the area at around 7000 BC, though this settlement was later abandoned. A subsequent wave of settlers, known as the Lenape people, would then arrive at around 1000 BC. Although they have been largely wiped out from the area since the days of European settlement, many of the thoroughfares used by them, such as Broadway, continue to be in use to this day.
The first Europeans to settle in the area were the Dutch in 1609, who named the colony New Amsterdam (Dutch: Nieuw Amsterdam). The colony was conquered by the British in 1664, who re-named the colony New York. Columbia University, the most prestigious in the city, and one of the most prestigious in the United States, was founded during the British colonial period in 1754.
For much of the War of Independence, New York City remained a British stronghold. The British only withdrew from the city in 1783, allowing George Washington's troops to march in and claim it for the United States of America. New York City became the first capital of the United States of America in 1789, though this status was short-lived as the capital was transferred to Philadelphia only a year later. Nevertheless, during that period, the first United States Congress was convened at what is now Federal Hall on Wall Street, and George Washington was also inaugurated as the first President of the United States on the steps of Federal Hall. The Supreme Court of the United States was first convened at the now-demolished Royal Exchange Building, which was adjacent to Federal Hall.
English is the primary language spoken by most New Yorkers, although in the many communities it is common to hear other languages from around the world. There are many Spanish-speaking neighborhoods with large Latino populations, and it is possible, albeit somewhat difficult, for a non-English-speaking tourist to get by in New York speaking only Spanish. Many establishments in the main commercial and touristic areas have Spanish-speaking staff on duty, and many municipal government services in New York City are also available in Chinese (Cantonese & Mandarin) and Spanish, and most federal and state government services are available in the latter as well. Yiddish is widely spoken among Chasidic Jews.
Traditionally, English in New York City was spoken with distinctive accents, with specific ethnic groups within the boroughs having unique accents. Some of these accents are notable for being among the few non-rhotic American accents. You may still encounter the traditional accents when talking to older working-class New Yorkers, though they are gradually dying out in favor of a more nearly general American accent.
The borough of Manhattan is a long, narrow island nestled in a natural harbor. It is separated from The Bronx on the north east by the Harlem River (actually a tidal strait); from Queens and Brooklyn to the east and south by the East River (also a tidal strait); and from the State of New Jersey to the west and north by the Hudson River. Staten Island lies to the south west, across Upper New York Bay.
In Manhattan, the terms “uptown” and “north” mean northeast, while “downtown” and “south” mean to the southwest. To avoid confusion, simply use “uptown” and “downtown.” Street numbers continue from Manhattan into the Bronx, and the street numbers rise as one moves farther uptown (however, in the Bronx, there is no simple numerical grid, so there may be 7 blocks between 167 St. and 170 St., for example). Avenues run north and south. In Brooklyn, street numbers rise as one moves south. Queens streets are laid out in a perpendicular grid – street numbers rise as one moves toward the east, and avenues run east and west. Staten Island's grid system is small and insignificant, only covering one neighborhood.
The term “the city” may refer either to New York City as a whole, or to the borough of Manhattan alone, depending on the context. The other boroughs - Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens - are sometimes referred to as the "outer boroughs.”
New York City has a humid continental climate and experiences all four seasons, with hot and humid summers (Jun-Sept), cool and dry autumns (Sep-Dec), cold winters (Dec-Mar), and wet springs (Mar-Jun). Average highs for January are around 38°F (3°C) and average highs for July are about 84°F (29°C). However, temperatures in the winter can go down to as low as 0°F (-18°C) and in the summer, temperatures can go as high as 100°F (38°C) or slightly higher. The temperature in any season is quite variable and it is not unusual to have a sunny 60°F (16°C) day in January followed by a snowy 25°F (-3°C) day. New York can also be prone to snowstorms and nor'easters (large storms similar to a tropical storm), which can dump as much as 2 feet (60 cm) of snow in 24–48 hours. Although snowstorms are a regular occurrence during the winter months, the snow rarely lies more than a few days before it partially melts. Major snowstorms can happen as early as Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November) and as late as the second week in April, though this is not the norm. Tropical storms can also hit New York City in the summer and early fall.
The diverse population runs the gamut from some of America's wealthiest celebrities and socialites to homeless people. New York's population, formed by hundreds of thousands of immigrants, has been diverse since the city's founding by the Dutch, and successive waves of immigration from virtually every nation in the world make New York a giant social experiment in cross-cultural harmony.
The city's ethnic heritage illuminates different neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. Manhattan's Chinatown remains a vibrant center of New York City's Chinese community, though the very large Chinese community in Flushing, Queens, has rivaled if not eclipsed it in importance, and three other Chinatowns have formed in New York City: the Brooklyn Chinatown in Sunset Park; the Elmhurst Chinatown in Queens; and the Avenue U Chinatown in the Homecrest section of Brooklyn. Traces of the Lower East Side's once-thriving Jewish community still exist amid the gentrified neighborhood's trendy restaurants and bars, but there are Chasidic communities in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Harlem has been gentrifying and diversifying and remains a center of African-American culture in New York. East (Spanish) Harlem, though also significantly gentrified, still justifies its reputation as a large Hispanic neighborhood. Little known to most tourists are the large Dominican neighborhoods of Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Brooklyn's Greenpoint is famous for its formerly large and vibrant Polish community, of which only a bit remains, and the Flatbush section - once home to the Brooklyn Dodgers - is today a huge and thriving Caribbean and West Indian section. Queens and Brooklyn are known for being home to many of New York's immigrant groups, which since 1990 have included large numbers of Russians, Uzbeks, Chinese, Irish, French, Filipinos, Yugoslavians, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Africans, Arabs (from throughout the Middle East and northern Africa), Mexicans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Brazilians, Colombians and Jamaicans.
New York City is home to 46 Fortune 500 companies. Its gross metropolitan product of $1.7 trillion is the largest of any American city and represented approximately 9% of the American economy. If it were a nation, the city would have the 16th-highest GDP in the world.
New York is the national center for several industries. It is the home of the three largest U.S. stock exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX) and many banking and investment firms. Though these companies have traditionally been located in the area around Wall Street in Financial District, many have offices in other parts of the city, such as Midtown. New York is the hub of the country's publishing, fashion, accounting, advertising, media, legal, theater, and art industries. The city boasts several top-tier hospitals and medical schools, which train more physicians than those in any other city in the world.
New York City (NYC IATA for all airports) is well connected by air with flights from almost every corner of the world. Three large airports, and several small ones, serve the region. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) are large international airports, while LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is a busy domestic airport. All three airports are run by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Bus/subway - Connections between airports using the bus/subway/PATH trains are the cheapest option, but will require many transfers. Set aside a minimum of 2 hours for travel time.
NYC Airporter bus - Provides services between JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports for $24. Buses depart every 20–30 minutes. A bus transfer is required to the Newark Airport Express Bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal for Newark Airport to and from JFK and LaGuardia Airports.
Shared ride van services - Some companies as ETS Airport Shuttle and All County Express run very infrequent shared ride van service between airports. The cost of the ride between LGA and EWR is $32, $10 between LGA and JFK, and $29 between JFK and EWR.
Taxis - the fastest option when changing airports. A taxi between JFK and LGA will cost about $25–29 and should take 30 minutes. A taxi between LGA and EWR will cost about $78 + tolls and should take 60–75 minutes. A taxi between JFK and EWR will cost about $85 + tolls and should take 60–75 minutes.
John F. Kennedy International Airport
Main article: John F. Kennedy International Airport1 John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK IATA). New York's main airport and a major hub for American, Delta, and JetBlue, as well as other domestic and international airlines. If you are arriving into New York by plane from overseas, it is likely that JFK will be your point of entry. If you arrive at this airport from overseas, be prepared to wait in line at Customs & Border Protection, often over an hour if you are not a permanent resident of the United States. As cellphones are not allowed in waiting lines, you may want to bring a book or other non-digital entertainment. If you are departing from this airport, beware that it's a huge and congested airport with six terminals. Make sure you know what terminal you're leaving from before you get to the airport, and it's recommended that you arrive 2 hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international ones, to check in and pass through security without a huge increase in blood pressure and/or a last minute dash worthy of the Olympics, but without any of the medals.
If you're going to Manhattan, you can get there by taxi for a flat fare of $52, bus plus subway for $2.75, or the AirTrain—a 24h people mover system that takes passengers to the nearby Jamaica subway and rail stations for $8 (AirTrain + subway card). From Jamaica you can take the NYC subway lines E, J or Z further into Brooklyn, Queens and the island of Manhattan, with travel time being between 50 and 60 minutes to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan. A faster option is the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train to Penn Station taking 35 minutes and costing $4-8 from Jamaica Station.
Newark Liberty International Airport
Main article: Newark Liberty International Airport2 Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR IATA). In the state of New Jersey, west of Manhattan, serves as New York's second major international airport, New Jersey's primary airport, and a major hub for United Airlines. It is also the starting point of the world's longest nonstop commercial flight; the flight from Newark to Singapore on Singapore Airlines that takes a whopping 19 hours to cover a distance of 9,521 miles (15,323 km) You can get into New York City by taxi for $50-70. Other taxi companies that run cabs to different destinations are also available from the airport.
The AirTrain Newark functions very similarly to its sister system at JFK, although the Newark system predates JFK's by a few years. The cars of the monorail are very small compared to other airport transit systems, so please make as much free space as possible. The monorail runs between the terminals, and to the parking lots, rental car facilities, and the Newark Airport station along the busy Northeast Corridor Line. From P4, shuttles are available to airport hotels. A bus is also available to the nearby Jersey Gardens outlet mall in Elizabeth.
Newark Airport's station along the Northeast Corridor gives it a major advantage over JFK and LGA, as long-distance Amtrak trains going as far south as Virginia, as far north as Massachusetts, and as far west as Harrisburg also stop at the station.
3 LaGuardia Airport (LGA IATA). The smallest of the New York Metropolitan Area's three major airports, but also the closest to Midtown Manhattan of the three. Almost all direct flights from LGA are to destinations within 1,500 miles. Most flights are domestic; however, there are international flights from LGA to Canada, Aruba, the Bahamas and Bermuda. The Marine Air Terminal, used by Delta Air Lines for services to Washington D.C. and Boston, is one of the oldest, still-in-use, airport terminals in the world. In 2009, LGA ranked last among major U.S. airports in both on-time arrivals and customer satisfaction. To travel between the city and LGA:
Local bus - costing $2.75, this is the cheapest method of transport, although the slowest to Manhattan. The buses have little room for luggage. Some, especially on the Q70 listed below, are usually equipped with luggage racks. However, they offer connections to the subway and Long Island Railroad. Free transfers between bus and subway are available only with a MetroCard; the single ride ticket does not allow free transfers. Coins are needed to board the buses without a MetroCard. There is a change machine in the airport terminal and MetroCards can be bought in the airport at Hudson News. The MetroCard vending machine at the airport does not accept cash. Bus to subway/LIRR routes include:
M60 +Select Bus Service to:
Astoria Blvd (15–25 minutes): "N" and "W" Trains ( "W" trains weekdays only)
125th St & Lexington Ave (30 minutes): "4", "5", "6" Trains & Metro-North Railroad Service
125th St & Lenox Ave./Malcolm X Blvd (30 minutes): "2" & "3" Trains
125th St & 8th Ave./St. Nicholas Ave (35 minutes): "A", "B" (weekdays only), "C", and "D" Trains
116th St & Broadway (40 minutes): "1" Train
(This route is particularly useful if you are staying on the Upper West Side, including Hostelling International New York)
Q70 LTD to:
Roosevelt Avenue/Jackson Heights (10 minutes): "E", "F", "M", "R", and "7" Trains
Woodside (15 minutes): Long Island Railroad & "7" Train
Flushing-Main Street (30 minutes): Long Island Railroad & "7" Train
Go Airlink Shuttle - Shared van door-to-door service. $16 to Manhattan. 10% discount for online purchase.
NYC Airporter bus - provides services to Grand Central Terminal and the Port Authority Bus Terminal for $13 one-way, $23 round-trip (return ticket). Buses depart every 20–30 minutes and the trip to Grand Central Terminal can take up to 65 minutes. While the schedule online shows stops at Penn Station, the bus does not go there between noon and 6PM; however, SuperShuttle offers a free connecting service between Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal.
Taxi - Taxis cost $21–30 to Manhattan plus tips, tolls, a $0.50 tax to NY, and a $1 surcharge during rush hour. You can save on tolls by asking the driver to use Queensboro Bridge for points in Midtown and on the Upper East Side, the Williamsburg Bridge for the Village and downtown, or Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges for points downtown. If going above 72nd Street, it is better to pay the toll ($5.50) and take the RFK Bridge (formerly called the Triboro) into Manhattan.
Private car service - An alternative to taxis, car services are useful for getting to the airport from the outer boroughs where taxis are harder to find, or if you prefer to have transportation reserved in advance. Typically $40 or more between LGA and Manhattan.
Long Island MacArthur Airport
Long Island MacArthur Airport (Islip Airport) (ISP IATA) is in Ronkonkoma (Town of Islip) on Long Island. The airport is served by Southwest Airlines, a major discount carrier in the US. American Airlines has a minor presence at the airport.
To travel between the city and ISP:
A shuttle bus (10 minutes, $5) operates between the ISP and the Ronkonkoma Long Island Railroad station. From there, you can take a train to Penn Station in Manhattan. (1.5 hours, $12.75 off-peak hours or $17.50 peak hours). The Long Island Railroad offers a discount package for MacArthur Airport travelers on its website
Hampton Jitney operates bus services from Ronkonkoma to Manhattan costing $25; the bus stop is a short cab ride away from ISP.
Westchester County Airport
Westchester County Airport (HPN IATA) is near the town of White Plains and is served by American, Cape Air, Delta, JetBlue, and United, mostly for flights on the East Coast.
To travel between the city and HPN:
Beeline Bus #12 (fare $2.25; call 914-813-7777 for details) operates service to the White Plains Metro-North station. From there, you can take a Metro-North train ($8.50 off-peak and $11.25 peak) to any of various points in the Bronx, or 125th St/Park Ave and Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. Trains run roughly every half hour for most of the day and take approximately 40 minutes.
Stewart International Airport
Stewart International Airport (SWF IATA) is 75 miles north of midtown Manhattan, near Newburgh. It mainly serves flights from Western Europe on Norwegian Airlines and flights from Florida on Jetblue Airlines.
To travel between the city and SWF:
A shuttle bus connects the SWF with the Beacon Metro North Train Station. From there, you can take a train into Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan (approximately 90 minutes).
Shortline operates bus service ($20, 90 minutes) between the airport and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. Buses are timed based on arrivals and departures of Norwegian Airlines flights.
Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN IATA) is 63 miles southwest of Midtown Manhattan and offers limited commercial service on Frontier Airlines. Passengers flying into Trenton can reach Manhattan by taking a taxi to the Trenton train station and then taking the Jersey Transit's Northeast Corridor Line or Amtrak to Penn Station.
Teterboro Airport (TEB IATA) is the most popular choice for general aviation and business jet travelers out of New York City. Air taxi and air charter companies such as Private Jets Teterboro, Incredijet Private Jet Charter. The Early Air Way, Monarch Air Group, Mercury Jets and Jetset Charter fly a variety of private charter aircraft and jets, from charter luxury Gulfstream's down to economical piston twins for small groups and individuals.
See also: Rail travel in the United StatesAmtrak, +1-800-USA-RAIL (+1-800-872-7245), operates from 4 New York Penn Station (ZYP IATA), directly under Madison Square Garden, on 34th St between 7th & 8th Aves. Popular trains leaving during rush hours can fill up quickly; it is a good idea to make reservations online, or via phone, and pick up your ticket using a credit card or your confirmation number at one of the electronic kiosks throughout the station. On some of the non-business routes, for example New York to Montreal, Amtrak actually takes more time and costs more money than taking the bus or renting a car. Check and compare schedules and prices before booking.
Amtrak's Acela express train provides regular 150 mph (240 km/h) commuter service between major points along the east coast such as Washington, D.C., Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Haven, and Providence. Amtrak services are also available to points along the East Coast down to Florida, across the southeast to New Orleans, to points between New York and Chicago, including Pittsburgh and Cleveland, to New York state including Albany, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and to Toronto and Montreal in Canada. Service to California takes 3 days and requires a change of train in Chicago.
Amtrak's ClubAcela Lounge, near the big security desk in Penn Station, offers complimentary drinks, wi-fi access, newspapers and magazines, and clean bathrooms. Access to the club is granted to travelers with sleeper tickets, First Class Acela tickets, or Amtrak GuestRewards SelectPlus membership.
New York City is served by three commuter railroads.
Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) operates between New York Penn Station and Long Island with New York City stops at Jamaica Station. The LIRR also serves Atlantic Terminal station in Brooklyn. LIRR tickets can be purchased online or inside stations prior to boarding the train. Tickets are also available for purchase on the train but are significantly more expensive. The cost of the ticket varies based on the distance of the ride.
Metro-North Rail Road (Metro North) operates between Grand Central Terminal and points north and east of the city all the way to Connecticut. Trains also stop at the Harlem station on 125th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan. The New Haven line serves cities along the coast with branch lines to Danbury and Waterbury. The Hudson Line serves points along the Hudson River to Poughkeepsie. The Harlem Line serves Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties to Pawling and Wassaic. At New Haven, passengers may transfer to Amtrak or to the Shore Line East providing local service between New Haven and New London, Connecticut. Metro North tickets can be purchased online or inside stations prior to boarding the train. Tickets are also available for purchase on the train but are significantly more expensive. The cost of the ticket varies based on the distance of the ride.
New Jersey Transit operates between New York Penn Station and points in New Jersey. The Northeast Corridor line goes to Princeton and Trenton. Services are also available for points along the Jersey Coast and, with a transfer in Secaucus, to points north of the city (in New Jersey and New York State west of the Hudson). Connecting service is available from Trenton to Philadelphia via SEPTA or to Camden (New Jersey) via RiverLINE. Connecting service to Newark Liberty International Airport is available from some Northeast corridor trains. NJ Transit tickets can be purchased online or inside stations prior to boarding the train. Tickets are also available for purchase on the train but are significantly more expensive. The cost of the ticket varies based on the distance of the ride.
PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) is a subway system connecting New York City to Hoboken, Newark, and various points on the New Jersey shore of the Hudson River. Two lines pass under the Hudson and enter the city, one terminating near the World Trade Center site downtown, the other at 33rd Street in midtown (see map). The PATH station at 33rd Street is not connected to, nor part of Penn Station.
PATH costs $2.75 per ride. An RFID-type stored value card called Smartlink affords PATH users discounts: $21 for 10 trips; $42 for 20 trips; $84 for 40 trips. However, the card itself must be purchased ($5, $24 including 10 trips). The PATH system accepts the MTA system's Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard (but not Unlimited Ride MetroCard). For the visitor traveling from New Jersey daily, it is more convenient and possibly cheaper to purchase the MetroCard to travel on both the PATH and the MTA systems. However, there is no free MetroCard transfer between PATH and MTA subways/buses.
See also: Long-distance bus travel in the United StatesSome buses offer wi-fi, outlets and even business-class style luxury. Buses serve New Jersey, New York suburbs west of the Hudson River, and all cities along the east coast of the U.S.
With the cheap "Chinatown" or "curbside" buses in New York City, "you get what you pay for." Most buses are safe, however, bus companies that offer very low fares are often riskier in that their drivers are not as cautious on the roads and often speed. Also, the level of service is frequently somewhat less. If you have to transfer between buses using these discount buses for example, their drivers may speak limited English and be less able to assist you in making the transfer. There are exceptions to this, but it is a consideration when choosing a bus company.
In New York there is a Central Bus Station for Greyhound; Coach USA, NJ Transit, Peter Pan, Trailways, Lakeland, amongst others at the:
5 New York Port Authority Bus terminal, 625 8th Ave (Along 8th Ave between 40th & 42nd Ave near Times Square), ☎ +1 212 502-2200.There are also other bus companies that do not serve the Port Authority Bus Terminal either but rather have curbside stops in different places surrounding the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal, Penn Station, the nearby Times Square and/or elsewhere in Manhattan or the adjacent boroughs. The so called "Chinatown companies", may have a small "hole in the wall" storefront for a bus station or just a curbside stop in Chinatown in Manhattan and/or Brooklyn. Check their websites.
From (upstate) New York, East Long Island, Toronto and Montreal
Also see BoltBus, Greyhound, Megabus, and Peter Pan under "from other locations"
Coach USA Shortline, Port Authority Bus Terminal @ 625 8th Ave. In addition to Megabus, Coach USA also operate the Shortline as a commuter bus from Rockland, Orange and Sullivan Counties, NY; Bergen County, NJ; and Pike County, PA to Midtown, Downtown, the Eastside, and Wallstreet in Manhattan and over longer distances from Monticello, Binghamton, Ithaca, Owego, Elmira, Corning, Alfred, etc.
Fox Bus Lines, (bus stops) 152 E Broadway and 34 W 31st. Goes north to Schenectady and Albany, NY and south to Philadelphia.
Trailways of New York (Adirondack,Pine Hills, New York), Port Authority Bus Terminal @ 625 8th Ave, ☎ +1 716 855-7533, toll-free: +1-800-776-7548. Largest intra-state bus operator serving multiple cities and towns throughout New York (state) on multiple routes.
Hampton Jitney, ☎ +1 631 283-4600. Goes to various places in eastern Long Island from stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Ocean Bus Lines, 3 Bowery St (Corner of Bowery and Division), ☎ +1 917622-7696. Goes up towards Buffalo via Syracuse, Liverpool and Rochester.
From New Jersey and Pennsylvania (beyond Philadelphia)
Also see BoltBus, Greyhound, Megabus, and Peter Pan under "From other locations". A list of additional bus services to Philadelphia and nearby areas in southern NJ are under "From Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Delaware and/or Virginia" heading in the below.
Academy Bus, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Wall St and other places throughout Midtown Manhattan, ☎ +1 201 420-7000, toll-free: +1 800 442-7272. Operates commuter services from New York to Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey. They also operate a separate Casino Express to Atlantic City from the Port Authority Bus Terminal & 85th St Candy Store at E 85th St between 3rd & 2nd Ave.
Coach USA, Port Authority Bus Terminal @ 625 8th Ave. The parent company of Megabus offers commuter routes, university express, airport shuttles and casino shuttles from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to New Jersey as:Community Coach scheduled service from Morris and Essex Counties to New York City.
Olympia Trails operates commuter services across the Hudson between Manhattan and northern New Jersey. They also operate local services in/around Hudson County, NJ (Jersey City) under the Red & Tan Brand (may of been discontinued); in/around Essex County, NJ as the Orange Newark Elizabeth Bus (ONE Bus); between mid-town Manhattan and Plainfield, NJ as the Westfield Commuter; and the Newark Airport Express between Manhattan and the Newark Airport. They also operate select Megabus routes out of New York to Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Albany, Ridgewood NJ and Toronto.
Rockland Coaches operates commuter bus service between New York City and points in Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY. They also provide local bus service in both locales.
Suburban Trails offers commuter, casino, and charter services in Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset Counties, NJ.DeCamp, Port Authority Bus Terminal @ 625 8th Ave, ☎ +1 973 783-7500. Commuter buses between NY Port Authority Bus Terminal and Nutley, Caldwell, Bloomfield, Montclair, Roseland, Kearney and Orange in northern New Jersey
Lakeland Bus Lines, Port Authority Bus Terminal @ 625 8th Ave, ☎ +1 973 366-0600. Commuter buses between NY Port Authority Bus Terminal and northern New Jersey
Martz Group (Martz Trailways), ☎ +1 570 821-3838. Martz Trailways offers commuter & intercity routes between New York City, Hackettstown, Panther Valley Mall, Atlantic City, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Stroudsburg, Poconos and Philadelphia (NJ, NY and PA).
New Jersey Transit, ☎ +1 973 275-5555. Operates service between destinations in New Jersey and Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Ave & 42nd St.
Susquehannas Trailways. Travels across Pennsylvania from Williamsport PA to Elmira NY; Harrisburg PA; Lock Haven University and Hazelton in several directions on multiple routes. Another route travels between Sunbury and Lehighton. From Hazelton and from Lehighton the routes diverge to New York and another to Philadelphia.
From Boston, Hartford and Cambridge
The trip normally takes 4½ hours, there are at least 82 buses daily in each direction.
Also see BoltBus, Greyhound, Megabus, and Peter Pan under "from other locations"
Coach Run, (bus station) 47 Chrystie St and a stop at 136-04 Northern Blvd in Flushings Queens, ☎ +1 617 681-0820. Goes up to Boston via Newton, Framingham and Malden. Bus also serves Natick and Quincy (north and south of Boston proper).
Boston Deluxe, (bus stops) 175 Lafayette St (Lafayette & Grand); 1271 Broadway at 32nd St (in front of Speedy's Deli); SE Corner in front of the Coffee Shop @ E 86th St At 2nd Ave; E 125th Street and 2nd Ave in East Harlem (Lafayette). Travels between New York, Hartford and Boston. Weekend service for $15.
LimoLiner, (bus stop) Hilton Midtown @ 1301 Avenue of the Americas (LimoLiner boards curbside on West 53rd and 6th Ave (1301 Avenue of the Americas) in front of the EXIT only door of the Hilton Hotel. Across from Starbucks.), ☎ +1 844 405-4637. From Boston and Framingham, MA with an on board attendant, food service, Wi-Fi, wide seats.
Lucky Star, (office) 145 Canal St (Canal & Bowey in Chinatown Manhattan). 6AM-11PM and at 2AM. Runs from Boston to their Chinatown office at least hourly 6AM-11PM and at 2AM. Wi-Fi provided on some buses. From $1 online, $20 walk-up..
Go Buses, (bus stop) 30th St & 9th Ave, toll-free: +1-855-888-7160. Runs from Cambridge, MA (Alewife Station) and Newton, MA (Riverside Station) to Penn Station (31st St and 8th Av). Fares start at $10.
From Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Delaware and Virginia
Also see BoltBus, Greyhound, Megabus, and Peter Pan under "from other locations"
BestBus, (Bus stop) 314 W 31st St (Btwn 8th and 9th Ave on the south side of the post office near Madison Square Garden and Penn Station), ☎ +1 202 332-2691, toll-free: +1-888-888-3269. Service to Union Station and Dupont Circle in Washington DC; Silver Spring in Maryland; Manassas, Vienna, and Springfield in Virginia; and summer weekend service to Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach in Delaware. Buses offer free Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, and free water. $20-50 from Washington, DC and Maryland, $25-50 from Virginia, $46 from Delaware.
Eastern Shuttle, (office) 28 Allen St; (bus stop) 7th Ave & W 33rd S in front of Bank of America (their own depot is in a storefront, in middle of block between Canal St & Hester St), ☎ +1 212 244-6132, +1 202 848-0688. Bus service between Richmond, VA; Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC; and New York,NY several times daily. Wifi on some buses. Partner with Megabus on some services.
Focus Travel Bus, (Bus Depot) 120 E Broadway; additional stop at 35 W 31st, ☎ +1 202 216-9222. Connects New York to Washington DC via Philadelphia and Baltimore. $21 from New York City, $15 from Philadelphia.
Hola Bus, (Bus depot) 28 Allen St; (stop) Bank of America @ 7th Ave & W 33rd St, ☎ +1 347-552-1184. Bus services between New York City, Rockville, MD; Baltimore, Washington DC and Richmond, VA.
NY Tiger, (office) 59 Canal St (Corner of Canal & Orchard St in Chinatown Manhattan), ☎ +1 212 625-9928, +1 917 299-5567, +1 757 717-1677. Daily bus between Norfolk, VA; Hampton, VA; Virginia Beach, VA; Salisbury, MD and New York,NY. There's a "NY Lion Bus" that runs the same route from the same station and can be affiliated.
Today's Bus, (Bus stop) 13 Allen St (Allen St & Canal St in Chinatown Manhattan). Daily bus between Colonial Heights, VA; Newport News, VA; Virginia Beach, VA; Richmond, VA; and New York City.
Tripper Bus, (Bus stop) Penn Station @ 313 W 31st St (between 8th & 9th Ave, same side of street as post office), toll-free: +1-877-826-3874. Service between New York City Penn Station (7th Ave & W 30th St) and Bethesda, MD; Arlington, VA & Lorton, VA. Fares start at $30 each way or from $1 online..
Vamoose, (Bus stop) Corner of W 30th St & 7th Ave at the Bagel Maven Café, ☎ +1 212 695-6766, +1 301 718-0036. Travels between New York; Bethesda, MD; Arlington, VA; & Lorton, VA.
Washington Deluxe, (bus stop) Pig n' Whistle Pub @ 202 W 36th St (btwn 7th & 8th Ave); Chinatown @ 122 Allen St (Allen & Delancey); Brooklyn @ 1727 Bedford Ave (Btwn. Sullivan Place & Empire Blvd, in front of the Burger King), toll-free: +1-866-287-6932. Service from Washington DC. Wi-Fi. From Washington D.C. ($21) some to Brooklyn.
From other locations
Buses from all of the above (everywhere between Boston & Washington DC) and beyond.
BoltBus, (bus stops) W 33rd St Btwn 11th & 12th Ave (DC, BOS, BAL, PHL); 1st Ave btwn 38th & 39th Ave (BOS); 6th Ave btwn Grand & Watts Ave (DC, PHL), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287). Co-branded between Greyhound and Peter Pan to provide service from Boston; Baltimore; Greenbelt, MD; Cherry Hill, NJ; Richmond, VA; Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Wi-Fi, electrical outlets provided. $1 if lucky; up to $30.
C & J, Port Authority Bus Terminal @ 625 8th Ave. Goes up to Tewksbury, MA; Portsmouth, NH; and Ogunquit, ME
Concord Coach Lines, (bus stop) 373 E 42nd St (Transit bus stop (Rt M42 & X21) on E 42nd St between 1st & 2nd Ave, next to Tudor City Place Overpass (bridge).), ☎ +1 603 228-3300, toll-free: +1-800-639-3317. Express bus to Portland, ME on one route and to Concord, NH via Nashua on another.
Greyhound, Port Authority Bus Terminal @ 625 8th Ave, toll-free: +1-800-231-2222. Offers connections across North America (United States & Canada) and internet-only bargain fares to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue & 42nd Street. Wi-Fi, electrical outlets and the works on some buses. Fares vary depending on destination..
Megabus. Frequent service from Newark, DE; Georgia (Athens & Atlanta); Massachusetts (Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth); Hartford, CT; North Carolina; New Jersey; (upstate) New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania; Columbia, SC; Burlington, VT; Virginia, Washington D.C.; Chicago, IL and Toronto. Most buses arrive on the west side of 7th Avenue just south of 28th Street (nearest subway station is 28th Street on the 1 line) and depart from the south side of 34th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues, across the street from the Javits Center (nearest subway station is 34th Street—Hudson Yards on the 7 line). Services to Binghamton, New Brunswick, Princeton and Atlantic City arrive and depart at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue & 42nd Street. They can also be in different locations from the above, depending on destination, so check with their website. Wi-Fi and electrical outlets available on each bus. From $1 online. Cash-less pre-booking only online or by phone.
Omnibus la Cubana, 4149 Broadway (middle of block between W 175th & W 176th St in Washington Heights), ☎ +1 212 740-6870. Comes up from Miami to New York through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, DC; Elkton, MD; Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Peter Pan/Bonanza Bus Co.. Operates between cities in the Northeast U.S. (in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Philadelphia, PA; Albany, NY; New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Washington, DC) and the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue & 42nd Street.See GoToBus.com or ILikeBus.com for bus availability and to book tickets online:
Akai LLC, Pandora Bus Station @ 19 Allen St, ☎ +1 205 585-3888, +1 678 908-1588. Goes from New York towards several cities in Alabama and Georgia via Baltimore MD; Richmond VA: Charlotte NC; Greenville SC and Atlanta GA.
D & J Bus, (bus depot) 3 Allen St. Connects New York to Chicago via Toledo, South Bend and Portage (nearest stop to Gary IN).
East West Bus/Horserun, (bus depot) 47 Chrystie St (Chrystie St at Canal St in Chinatown Manhattan). Connects New York to Orlando through Anderson, Atlanta, Greenville, Durham, Baltimore, Greensboro, Gastonia, Richmond, Charlotte, Spartanburg, Columbia, Fayetteville, Florence, Raleigh and Lumberton
Jaguar Inc (formerly Skyhorse), (Bus stop) 59 Canal St (Corner of Canal & Orchard St in Chinatown Manhattan), ☎ +1 917 288-6888, +1 347 203-2209. Bus tickets are available from New York to Louisville, KY via Columbus, Springfield, Vandalia, Cincinnati, and Dayton, OH,
Pandora Bus, 19 Allen St. Connects New York to Raleigh Durham. From Raleigh Durham they branch out towards Atlanta, Columbia, SC; and Wilmington NC on several routes.
Starline Express, (bus stop) 95 Canal St, ☎ +1 212-965-8880. Connecting New York to Tampa via Battleboro, Brunswick, Charleston, Fayetteville, Florence, Hardeeville, Jacksonville, Lumberton, Manning, Savannah, Wilson, Summerville, Rocky Mount, Orlando, St.George, Roanoke Rapids and Weldon.
New York City has always been one of the world's most important passenger sea ports, and arriving by ocean liner or cruise ship still remains an extraordinary and stylish method of arrival. In addition to passenger service from the Cunard Line, many cruise ships start or end their voyages in New York City.
The Cunard Line operates regularly scheduled passenger service between the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and Southampton, England as well as Hamburg, Germany aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2, the grandest, largest ocean liner ever built. The trip takes 6–7 days and costs $800–6,000 depending on the cabin and season.
More mundane arrivals can be had from New Jersey via NY Waterway and SeaStreak, two fast ferry services.
While most people would advise against entering New York City by car (see the "Get around" section below), it is accessible by a number of highways:
From New Jersey there are three Hudson River crossings: The George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee drops you off in Upper Manhattan, the Lincoln Tunnel in Weehawken will bring you to Midtown Manhattan, and the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City leaves you in lower Manhattan. Depending on where you are heading to in New York City and the time of day, you'll want to take advantage of the different crossings, but if you have the time and are looking for the most scenic of the three, take the George Washington Bridge's upper level for spectacular views of New York City; Hudson County, New Jersey, and the Hudson River. If you are heading to Staten Island, Queens or Brooklyn you can also take the Goethals Bridge in Elizabeth to cut across Staten Island. The other routes into Staten Island from NJ are the Outerbridge Crossing in Perth Amboy, which puts you in Tottenville near the southern tip of the island and the Bayonne Bridge, which leaves you in extreme northern Staten Island.
From Upstate New York, you can take one of several highways the Bronx, including the New York State Thruway, which becomes the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx (both roads are I-87). The Connecticut Turnpike/New England Thruway (I-95) and the Merritt Parkway/Hutchinson River Parkway are good routes from Connecticut and areas of Westchester County near the Long Island Sound. From Long Island you can take the Long Island Expressway (I-495) or the Northern State Parkway/Grand Central Parkway for access to Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
For shorter distances, there is no better way of getting around New York than hitting the sidewalk. If you use the subway or buses, you will almost certainly need to walk to and from stations or stops. In all areas of New York a traveler is likely to visit, all streets have wide, smoothly-paved sidewalks. For long distances, walking is also fine and a great way to see the city.
Public transit – buses and subways
To ride the buses and subways in New York City, it is most likely that you will need a MetroCard. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, or MTA, sells MetroCards for use on the New York City bus and subway systems. While it is possible to pay bus fare using exact change (coins only), you must have a MetroCard to enter the subway system. Cards can be bought at station booths, at vending machines (no more than $9 given in change and no $100 bill or pennies accepted) in subway stations, and at many grocery stores and newsstands (look for a MetroCard sign on the store window). The vending machines in the stations accept credit cards; however, MetroCard vending machines will require that you type in your 5-digit zip code, or your regular PIN on international cards.
The PATH rapid transit rail system, which operates between New York and New Jersey, is not operated by the MTA and is therefore a separate fare. Even though PATH accepts payment by MetroCard, no free transfers are available to or from MTA subways or buses. JFK AirTrain also accepts MetroCard, but again, is not operated by the MTA and therefore no free transfers are available.
Metro-North Commuter Railroad, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), New Jersey Transit (NJT), and Amtrak trains do not accept MetroCards, but Westchester Bee Line Buses, Roosevelt Island Tram, and NICE Bus (Nassau Inter-County Express) do accept them.
Types of MetroCards
Up to three children 44 inches (112 cm) tall and under ride for free on subways and local buses when accompanied by a fare paying adult.
MetroCards generally expire 1 year after purchase; the expiration date is printed on the back of the card at the upper left.
A $1 fee is charged for each MetroCard purchased at station booths and vending machines. This fee does not apply when buying a card from neighborhood merchants, who may insist to be paid cash only (even if they otherwise accept credit cards with displayed logos), and if so, buy a lowest available pre-valued $10.48 card with $11.00 value that may be later refilled at MetroCard vending machine with credit card. However, expired MetroCards can be exchanged at station booths and vending machines free-of-charge, and the remaining balance will also be transferred to the new card. Debit and credit cards are accepted in vending machines; international card users need to input '99999' on the keypad when the ZIP code is requested. However, staffed station booths only accept cash, but no $50 bill if buying less than $30 or $100 bill if buying less than $70.
Single Ride MetroCard - costs $3 and is good for one use. It allows no free transfers between the subway and bus, and it is only valid for two hours after purchase.
Pay-Per-Ride (Regular) MetroCards - are available in amounts from $5.50 to $80. Each local bus or subway trip deducts $2.75 from your card; each express buses trip deducts $6.50. Usage of the PATH system deducts $2.75, and usage of JFK Airtrain deducts $5.00. You can add more money to your MetroCard at a later time. Additionally, you receive a 5% bonus for purchases of $5.50 or more (e.g. a $10 purchase yields a credit of $10.50). Because of the bonus, you will end up with extra change on your card if you add a round dollar amount. Effectively, the 5% bonus means that you will get your 21st ride for free assuming that you take only a subway or local bus.The amount you should add is (number of rides × $2.75) ÷ 1.05 rounded up to the nearest 5 cents. Regular MetroCard is the best option if you are spending a few days in New York and plan to use public transportation intermittently.
Additionally, a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard allows for one free transfer during a two hour window immediately following a paid fare:
From subway to local bus
From local bus to subway
From local bus to local bus (but not to any bus on the same route as the first)
From express bus to subway
From express bus to local bus
From express bus to express bus (but not to any bus on the same route as the first)A Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard may be used to pay for up to four fares at one time at a subway turnstile or bus.You can transfer from subway to subway as often as you like provided that you do not exit the subway system by leaving through a turnstile or gate. Many subway connections are possible in this way, by using in-station connections between the various lines. Indeed, the Guinness Book of World Records tracks the fastest times of groups that have tried to ride every single New York City subway train line on one fare - some have spent over 24 consecutive hours riding in the subway! Just remember that if you leave the subway and re-enter, you will be charged a second fare.Additionally, if you board a local bus and pay the $2.75 fare with a MetroCard, you can transfer to an express bus for the reduced price of $3.50 (instead of the standard $6.00 express bus fare).Unlimited Ride MetroCards - are available in 7-day ($32) and 30-day ($121.00). They are valid from the time you first use them until midnight of the 7th and 30th day, respectively. Do the math; these cards may work out to be cheaper if you plan on using public transport frequently during your stay. For example, the 7-day pass is worth it if you take more than 12 rides. Roughly, it works out to two trips every day for a week so those who commute round-trip within the city every day can benefit from this. Unlimited Ride MetroCards may not be used in rapid succession at the same subway station or on the same bus route. Once used, 18 minutes must elapse before it can be used at the same station (or on the same bus route). This is to prevent people from using a single Unlimited Ride MetroCard to pay for an entire group, for example. Hence, each member of the group will require their own Unlimited Ride MetroCard. Unlimited Ride MetroCards are NOT valid on express buses, JFK AirTrain, or PATH trains to New Jersey. If you are arriving at JFK airport and take the Air Train, the machines at the station do not sell unlimited ride cards. You should pay for the Air Train ($5) and buy an unlimited card at the subway station.
7-Day Express Bus Plus - costs $59.50 and allows unlimited use of not just local buses and subways, but also express buses. If you are staying in Staten Island, Queens, or Westchester county and plan to commute to the city during your visit, this pass may be advantageous to you.
Also available are two passes good only for unlimited use of the JFK Airtrain: a 30-day unlimited AirTrain pass for $40, and a 10-trip pass for $25.You can also get discounted tickets to certain events by showing your MetroCard when purchasing tickets. Current promotions are listed on the MetroCard website
Despite a reputation for being dirty, the subway, which operates 24 hours a day, is the fastest and best way to travel around the city. Fares are $2.75 (unless you use Single Ride MetroCard, which is $3.00), regardless of distance traveled. The much-feared subway crimes of the 1970s and 1980s are for the most part a thing of the past, and it is usually completely safe. Just remember to use common sense when traveling late at night alone. Try to use heavily-traveled stations, remain visible to other people, and don't display items of value publicly. While violent crime is rare, petty crime - especially theft of iPhones and other expensive electronics - is very frequent, so be aware when using your phone on the train.
To enter the subway, you will need to swipe your MetroCard through the slot on the right hand side of the turnstile that greets you at the subway entrance. Hold your card with the logo facing your body and black magnetic strip down. Then slide it forward through the slot at a moderate speed. You'll know you succeeded when the display flashes "Go" in green and you hear a click sound. Only once you hear the click is it OK to walk through the turnstile. Swiping the card improperly or moving the turnstile incorrectly could mean the forfeiture of your fare (for Pay-Per-Ride cards) or a lockout of 18 minutes (for Unlimited Ride cards). If this happens, go to a station booth and explain the problem. The agent will ask for your MetroCard, confirm that it was just charged, and let you go through.
Overhead signage next to each track indicates the trains that stop at that particular track and the direction they are heading. In addition, the trains themselves are marked by signage that indicates their route. Subway stations are ventilated to the street, so they can be quite cold in the winter. In summertime, the stations can be much warmer than the outside temperature. The trains themselves are quite comfortable, but keep the temperature of stations in mind when planning your trip.
Some stations, especially local-only ones, have entrances which provide access to trains headed in one direction, not both. Read the signage outside the entrance to know which direction the train heads into. If it heads in the opposite direction of where you need to go, cross the street.
Wait for riders to disembark before getting on the train. People will push past you if you are in their way when the train's just arrived.
Some trains are express, meaning that they skip local stations to provide faster service. Wherever there is an express train, there is also a local train that makes all stops. Local and express trains often use different tracks, so be sure to board the correct train. For example, the 2 and 3 are the express trains for the 7th Avenue Line between 96th Street and Chambers Street in Manhattan, while the 1 runs local alongside them. Some express trains run local or do not run at all late at night, and there are some lines in which there is an express train only during peak hours, in one direction.
During weekends and late nights, certain trains do not operate or operate on a limited schedule or route, many express trains make local stops, and some subway entrances are closed. Detailed information is available on the MTA website. Additionally, maintenance work is usually concentrated on weekends and overnight. Notices of maintenance are posted at stations and on the MTA website, so check online to avoid unpleasant surprises. Remember, if you do feel confused, ask for help. Construction-related service changes confuse many New Yorkers, so the best person to ask is a subway employee. The entire subway system is a massive, connected network, so do not fear — there will always be another way to get to your destination.
A free subway map can be found online, or obtained at staffed station booths. Station agents can also assist you with directions. Free bus system maps for each borough, which are also available on the MTA website and from most bus drivers and some subway station booths, double as fairly good street maps that show the exact location of every subway station. Additionally, for convenience, subway maps are displayed in every station and on every train. Some stations also have touchscreen information panels that feature route planners.
If you accidentally skip your destination, don't panic. Get off at the next station and do not go out onto the street to try to get to the opposite platform. Doing so will not count as a transfer and you will be charged for the MetroCard swipe. Instead, navigate underground to get to the other platform, following the signs. As mentioned above, some stations do not have passage between the platforms; in this case, ask a subway employee which station ahead does let you cross over, wait for the next train there, then cross over. Tell them which station you are trying to get to, because they may suggest a different subway line that can get you there faster; since you are coming back, it does not matter which line you take if you transfer back to your original line.
If don't feel completely safe, such as if you are traveling very late at night, look for the black-and-white striped bar mounted on the wall or hanging from the ceiling of the station which marks the location of the conductor's car, and board there. Generally, every car will be equally safe, but you may feel better with another pair of eyes nearby.
Every subway route is identified by either a letter or a number. In midtown Manhattan, they are mostly grouped by color. Especially during weekends and other periods of maintenance work, it may be possible for trains from one line to be diverted to a platform normally intended for another line.
The Seventh Avenue Line ( 1 2 3 ) serves Broadway above 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue below 42nd Street. Useful to get to the West Village, Chelsea, and Tribeca neighborhoods as well as the Staten Island or Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty ferries (1 to South Ferry station) and Columbia University (1 to 116th Street station).
The Lexington Avenue Line trains ( 4 5 6 ) were essentially the only trains on the East Side above 23 St. until the construction of the Q 2nd Ave. Subway (see below). Useful to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (4, 5, or 6 to 86th Street Station or 6 to 77th Street Station), Guggenheim Museum (4, 5, or 6 to 86th Street Station), and other East Side museums. Also to get to the Statue of Liberty (4, 5 to Bowling Green Station), Chinatown (6 to Canal Street station), and the Stock Exchange (4 and 5 to Wall Street). The 4 also goes uptown through Spanish Harlem to 161 St. - Yankee Stadium and beyond.
The Flushing Line ( 7 ), dubbed the "International Express", runs crosstown along 42nd Street (making a good late-night alternative to the upstairs Shuttle [see below]) and out to Queens, making stops in Filipino, South Asian, Hispanic, and Chinese/Korean neighborhoods, and also to CitiField and the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center.
The Eighth Avenue Line ( A C E ) serves Eighth Avenue/Central Park West between 14th and 116th Streets, then St. Nicholas Av., Broadway, and Ft. Washington Av. starting at 125th St. in Harlem. Between 50th and 59th streets, the E branches off to Queens, and the B and D trains join the A and C trains for the journey uptown along Central Park West (the B and C make local stops). This section is useful to get to the Natural History Museum (B and C to 81st Street station), and Cloisters Museum (A to 190th Street station). Take an uptown E train or a Rockaway-bound downtown A train for access to JFK Airport.
The Sixth Avenue Line ( B D F M ) runs on 6th Ave. from West 4th St. to 47th-50th street, and is useful for accessing the New York Public Library Main Branch (42nd St.), Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and St. Patrick's Cathedral (47th-50th Sts.).
Going downtown, these trains go on their own separate ways. The D goes down 4th Ave. in Brooklyn to Coney Island. The F goes to Coney Island on its own route. The B ends at Brighton Beach alongside the Q train, which also goes to Coney Island.
The M goes east alongside the Nassau Street line ( J Z ), but then branches again up Myrtle Avenue to Middle Village in Queens. The J and Z trains, meanwhile, either continue east through Williamsburg and other Brooklyn neighborhoods to Jamaica, or west into southern Manhattan, via the Williamsburg Bridge.
Going uptown, the B and D trains branch west and join the A and C trains (see above). They branch again toward the Bronx after 145th Street (which is the way to get to the 161 St. - Yankee Stadium stop). The M train branches east and joins the E along 53rd street for the Museum of Modern Art, then heads off to Queens. The F train makes one more 6th avenue stop at 57th street, then turns east to Queens, making a stop at Roosevelt Island, and joining the E, M, and R trains.
The Broadway Line ( N Q R W ) runs down Broadway below 42nd Street and on Seventh Avenue and 59th street above Times Square. The N, Q, and R trains are useful for accessing Chinatown (Canal St), SoHo/NoHo (Prince St), NYU area (8th St), Union Square (14th St), the Empire State Building (34th St), Times Square (42nd St), Carnegie Hall (57th St.), Central Park (57th St and 5th Av stations) and the southern end of the Upper East Side (5th Av and Lexington Av stations). The Q trains go further uptown through the Upper East Side under Second Avenue, while the N trains head out to Astoria, Queens. The R trains also go down to the Financial District and South Ferry (Whitehall St) and past Astoria to Jackson Heights and beyond. Like the D and F trains, the N and Q trains also provide service to Coney Island in their own separate routes: The N goes solo, and the Q runs alongside the B (see above). The W local train provides weekday service from Whitehall St./South Ferry in Downtown Manhattan to Astoria, Queens.
The Canarsie Line ( L ) also runs crosstown along 14th Street in Manhattan, then through Williamsburg and Bushwick and eventually to Canarsie in Brooklyn.
The Crosstown Line ( G ) runs along most of Western Brooklyn and into Long Island City in Queens. At no point on its route does it stop in Manhattan.
There are three Shuttles () throughout the system. The 42nd Street Shuttle connects Times Square on the West Side with Grand Central Terminal on the East Side. The Franklin Avenue Shuttle in Brooklyn makes four stops at Fulton Street (transfer to C), Park Place, Botanical Gardens (transfer to 2, 3, 4, and 5), and Prospect Park (transfer to B and Q). The Rockaway Shuttle connects with the A train at Broad Channel before branching off toward Beach 116th Street.
The PATH can be used to travel within Manhattan, from 33rd St along 6th Ave to Christopher Street. It covers a small territory but in theory you can use it if you have to travel its exact route. Unlimited Ride Metrocards cannot be used on the PATH. PATH also accepts the SmartLink Card (similar to the MetroCard, but the SmartLink Card cannot be used on the subway). The PATH train can be a great way to get around lower Midtown along 6 Avenue. Like the subway, PATH operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Usually, PATH trains arrive every 5–10 minutes (based on the time), but overnight, they may only come every 35 minutes.
By the Staten Island Railway
The Staten Island Railway, true to its name, is a railway line that serves Staten Island. It is owned and operated by the MTA. It is free except at the Tompkinsville and St. George stations. There, the price is the same as the subway ($2.75), and is payable by MetroCard (free transfers from MTA buses work, just as is the case with subways). SIR departure times from the terminal at St. George are usually coordinated with those of the Staten Island Ferry. The SIR consists of one line that travels along the East Shore of Staten Island, ending at Tottenville. A full timetable with other information can be found here.
By commuter rail
Commuter rail lines are mostly used for traveling between the city and its suburbs; however, they can be used for intracity transit as well. A handful of destinations are closer to commuter rail stops but far from the subway. MetroCards are not accepted on commuter rail; separate single or period tickets must be bought. When purchasing commuter railroad tickets, it is advantageous to purchase them online or in railroad stations prior to boarding. While tickets are available for sale on trains, there is an on-board surcharge that makes them significantly more expensive.
The Long Island Rail Road, often called the LIRR runs from Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, Flatbush Avenue/Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, and has limited rush hour service to Long Island City, Queens. The Port Washington Branch goes to Northeast Queens which, aside from Flushing and Citi Field, is not served by the subway system. The Main Line, which contains most of the branches to the different parts of Long Island, goes to Southeastern Queens, including Jamaica, Laurelton, and Rosedale. The Atlantic Branch, which ends in Downtown Brooklyn, goes to East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant, both in Brooklyn. This branch is not accessible from Manhattan, however. The LIRR is also the fastest way to get from JFK to Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens, and also runs to many popular getaways in Long Island, such as Long Beach, Port Jefferson, and Montauk. The LIRR has a somewhat deserved reputation for poor on-time performance, however this is more of a problem in the farther eastern reaches of the railroad and not so much a problem in New York City and its immediate suburbs.
The Metro-North Railroad provides services from Grand Central Terminal. Trains go to the Bronx and the northern suburbs of the city. The Hudson Line covers several parts of the Western Bronx, while the Harlem Line goes through the Central Bronx — an area with no subway service. It is the best way to get to Arthur Avenue and the New York Botanic Gardens. The Hudson and Harlem Lines are also your gateway to Westchester County and beyond, with the Hudson Line running all the way to Poughkeepsie. The New Haven Line runs to Connecticut, terminating, logically enough, in New Haven.
Even in Manhattan, with its dense subway network, buses can often be the best way of making a crosstown (i.e. east-west) journey — for example, crossing Central Park to go from the Metropolitan Museum to the Museum of Natural History. And outside peak hours, a ride by bus from the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park to Midtown is a good and cheap way of taking in the sights.
Bus lines are identified by letters followed by numbers. The letters indicate the borough in which the line mostly operates (M=Manhattan; Bx=Bronx; B=Brooklyn; Q=Queens; S=Staten Island). Collectively, the letters and numbers make up the route (examples: M31, Bx9, M15). Signage at each bus stop indicates which buses stop there. Signage on the front of each bus indicates the route and destination of the bus. Bus maps for each borough can be found at the MTA website.
Express buses travel between Manhattan and the outer boroughs, usually to areas where the subway doesn't operate (such as eastern Queens, the eastern Bronx, southeast Brooklyn, and Staten Island). They cost $6.50 but offer comfortable cloth seats and WiFi and are less crowded than the subway and local buses. Most Express buses are identified with either "X" (x1,x2,x63,x68) or by the Borough they connect to Manhattan. So Express buses to and from the Bronx would be labeled BxM (BxM11, BxM18), to and from Brooklyn would be labeled BM(BM1,BM2) and to and from Queens QM(QM1,QM2). Staten Island express buses and a few Brooklyn and Queens express buses are labeled with "X".
The times posted on the bus stops are often very unreliable, and may have nothing to do with the times the buses actually arrive. You can check the positions of the buses and their distance from a given stop online. Each stop also has a QR code with a link to that stop's entry.
At night, there is a much longer wait time between buses. If you anticipate riding the bus at night, plan an alternate route, probably via subway or taxi.
When boarding a bus with a MetroCard, insert the card vertically, with the pin hole down, the black stripe to the right and the word "MetroCard" facing towards you, into the card slot in the top of the fare box next to the driver. You should be able to read the word "MetroCard" from bottom to top when inserting the card in this manner. The fare box will swallow the card, read it, and return it to you. This is different from the procedure to enter the subway described in Subway Basics.
Bus fareboxes also accept coins. However, they will not accept pennies or half-dollar (50 cent) coins, nor will they accept bills. As a safety precaution, drivers do not handle money. Change is not given, so exact fares must be paid. If you pay with coins and require a free transfer, you will have to ask the driver for one after you have paid.
Certain buses contain a small orange and purple card in the window that says "Limited." These limited buses do not make all local bus stops, stopping only at major cross streets. They are similar to express buses in some ways, but only cost the standard $2.75 to ride. If a Limited bus skips your stop, you can wait for a local bus which will arrive soon. On some Avenues where there is at least two or more bus routes serving it, some bus routes may operate Limited on the entire avenue or at least until they branch off. For Example the M1, M2, M3, M4, M5; the M2 and M5 provide limited-stop service on 5th Ave & Madison Ave during the day.
Select Bus Service also makes limited stops like the Limited buses described above, and costs the standard $2.75 fare. They appear on the B44 in Brooklyn, the Bx12 and Bx41 in the Bronx, the M15, M34, M34A, and M86 in Manhattan, the M60 in Manhattan and Queens. They can be identified by a special blue wrap around the lower half of the bus. However, these buses operate on a very different payment system. To board these +SBS+ buses, fares must be paid before boarding by using machines on the sidewalk near a special +SBS+ bus stop which is typically quite close to the local bus stop. Follow the instructions at the machine to pay. Once the fare has been paid, a receipt will be printed; take it and keep it with you. Once the bus arrives, you can enter through any door, but remember if you paid with cash to use the front door if you will need to ask the driver for a transfer. Fare inspectors will occasionally check for your fare receipt as proof of payment; show it to them if they ask. If you don't have a valid receipt, you will be forced to pay a fine of $100 or more so it is wise to always pay the fare. However, if you cannot buy the ticket successfully, such as due to a malfunctioning machine, note the machine number and report the problem to the bus driver near the front door at once. If the +SBS+ skips your stop, wait at a local bus stop for a local bus.
Yellow Cabs cruise in most of Manhattan and are available at dispatcher lines at airports, but are harder to find in the other four boroughs. Real NYC taxis are yellow, have a metal seal on the hood ("medallion"), a light with a taxi number on the roof, a meter for billing, stickers on the windshield for various licenses, special taxi license plates, and a divider inside the car. The fares are $2.50 plus a $0.50 state tax to start, plus $0.40 for each 1/5 mile traveled. There is a night surcharge from 8PM to 6AM of $0.50 and a rush hour surcharge of $1 from 4PM-8PM M-F. In addition, as in the rest of the United States, tipping your taxi driver is expected in New York. For more information, see Tipping in the United States. Info on fares, flat fares, group rides and rules are online. All yellow cabs accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express for payment. In the unlikely event that the card reader is broken, the driver will let you know before you get into the taxi. To hail a taxi, stand visibly near the street (but away from moving traffic) with one arm raised over your head. The medallion numbers on the roof of the taxi will indicate the status of the taxi:
If the medallion number is unlit, then the taxi is already occupied or otherwise unavailable.
If the medallion number is lit, then the taxi is available for hire.
Borough Taxis were introduced in 2013 to address the shortage of yellow cabs outside Manhattan. Unlike yellow cabs, they are light green and have no medallions on the hood. These cabs are barred from picking up passengers in Manhattan south of West 110th St or East 96th St and may not enter the airport dispatcher lines. They can, however, pick up passengers in northern Manhattan and the other boroughs, and can drop off passengers anywhere. Fares and rules are otherwise identical to yellow cabs.
Livery or Black Cars, known as car services or livery cabs, may only be called by phone, and are flat rate rather than metered. In most areas, they are not allowed to cruise the street or airports for fares, although sometimes they will do so anyway. Ask for the fare while on the phone. Their license plates will say either "Livery" or "TLC" on the bottom.In some areas, livery cabs can be flagged on the street. Though this is not legal (the driver, not you, could get into trouble), it is useful in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs and is accepted practice, though this has mostly been replaced by the Borough Taxis.
The minimum fare in these cabs is about $7, and it is advisable to negotiate the fare before you get inside (again, tipping your driver is expected). Since yellow cabs are hard to come by in the outer boroughs, these cars are particularly useful for getting to the airport (your hotel can arrange one, or look up car services in the Yellow Pages).
All licensed taxis (yellow for in Manhattan and Green for outside of Manhattan) and sedan limousines are authorized to take 3 passengers in the backseat and 1 in the front seat for a total of 4. However, some of the newer minivan and SUV yellow cabs can seat more passengers and may take more than four passengers (even though the licensed limit is posted in the cab). Larger than sedan limousines can be reserved, also useful for airport trips with lots of luggage, by calling any of the dozens of companies in the yellow pages.
Licensed taxis apply surcharges (in addition to the metered fare) depending on the time of day. From 6AM–4PM, the surcharge is $0.50; from 4PM–8PM, the surcharge is $1.50; from 8PM–6AM the surcharge is $1. For all cabs, you must pay tolls for bridges, tunnels and highways. Be careful of being overcharged by drivers for toll crossings—on some bridges and tunnels (like the Queens-Midtown Tunnel) rates are not posted in plain view. So, a crossing which actually cost the cab driver $4 is easily passed onto the unsuspecting passenger as a $5 charge. Outside the city, other than flat fare destinations (such as JFK Airport)and Newark Airport), meter rates are doubled (when going to Westchester or Nassau County). Tipping your driver is expected. The customary amount is 15% of the total fare, or more if you need to transport luggage or are going to a remote area of the city (where the cab driver will have a difficult time getting a return passenger). If you chose to use the credit card machine that is found in most taxis (it doubles as a TV screen, the default tip will be 20% or 25% but you can adjust this if you resist feeling pressured and punch in the desired amount.
Be wary of unlicensed cars (known derisively as "gypsy cabs") cruising for passengers, especially near the airports or in areas not well served by yellow cabs. While drivers may claim to offer you a cheaper rate than an actual taxi, your chances of actually getting this rate (not to mention getting to your destination safely and quickly) are slim. If you're willing to negotiate and know what you're doing, you might be okay, but you're better off asking an airport staffer for help finding a cab or cabstand. Major airports have taxi information cards for passengers. Always settle on a price before getting into the car.
There are also van and shuttle services in different parts of the city. You will have to ask where it is going and how much it costs. Usually, you will see people lining up and a van will appear and they will board. There are services between Chinatown and Queens (you won’t have to make any transfers if it goes where you need to go!), and also there are separate services in Brooklyn, and Queens. Many of these services are branded as "Dollar Vans" (actually costing $2.00), and follow major bus routes along major avenues in these boroughs and will drop you off and pick up at any corner along the avenue. Some are legal while most aren't and usually compete with each other for customers and may cut some other van drivers off. This is an accepted practice in these boroughs and at times are faster than MTA buses. The illegal vans may not have insurance so you ride at your own risk. Most drivers of these vans have heavy West Indian accents. Some may seem sketchy but for the most part are people just trying to make a living. They are usually are helpful with directions. It is rare that incidents occur with them.
Whilst there are Pedicabs in New York, The city is in the early stages of licensing and enforcing safety regulations for them. Fares are usually posted on the vehicle.
The Staten Island Ferry, runs from Battery Park in southern Manhattan to Staten Island. The ferry carries passengers and bicycles only, runs every 15-20 minutes during rush hours and every 30 minutes at most other times, and is free (so don't be fooled by con artists trying to sell "advance tickets"). Not only does the ferry provide a means of transport, but it offers an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor on its way. Even if you don't want to visit Staten Island, taking this trip is highly recommended. It is very popular with tourists. Ride on the starboard side of the ferry (right side facing the front) from Manhattan and the port side from Staten Island for the best views (to the west). If you want to take good photographs, try to get on the ferry as soon as the gates open and walk briskly to an open window (few windows are open to the air and will populate quickly). The Manhattan-to-Staten Island route passes slightly closer to the Statue of Liberty than the return route. For security reasons, all passengers must exit the ferry upon reaching the terminal. Passengers intending to make an immediate return trip must exit the ferry, walk through the terminal to the waiting area, then board the next departing ferry.
New York Waterway, operates ferries that connect the city with the New Jersey Hudson River Waterfront, and with points in Brooklyn and Queens. These ferries are not free. Inquire as to fares before boarding.
New York Water Taxi runs ferries between points within Manhattan, with some connections to Brooklyn and New Jersey. Their boats are painted to look like taxis.
A word of advice about driving in New York City: don't. A car is inadvisable — street parking is practically nonexistent near crowded areas and tourist attractions, and garage parking rates range from very expensive to plain extortion. Traffic is almost always congested, parking rules are confusing, and many drivers are infamously aggressive. Public transportation options are many, and are quicker, cheaper and more pleasant. That's why many New Yorkers, particularly in Manhattan, don't own cars. If you think of staying in a suburb and commuting to the city by car, better to do as the locals do. Drive to one of the commuter rail stations (see above) or ferry docks. Parking fees at the station, fare, and MetroCard combined are usually much cheaper than parking downtown. Many stations have secure parking areas. In Staten Island, parking near the ferry terminal and using the ferry will save you money and time.
If you do choose to drive, get a map, especially if driving outside of Manhattan. Good maps to use, if you are not driving, are the free bus maps which have each street, though the subway map can work in a pinch (also used for small boat navigation). In Queens, numbers identify not only avenues and streets, but also roads, places, crescents, and lanes, all of which might be near each other. Read the entire street sign. Outer borough highways are confusing and often narrowed to one lane, the potholes could trap an elephant, the signs are sometimes misleading, exits which should appear do not, and signs directing a highway approach drag you through miles of colorful neighborhood (in the wrong direction) before finally letting you onto the highway with a stop sign and a hand's width of merge space.
Traffic in New York City roughly follows a hierarchy of precedence, which it is unwise to challenge. Fire engines, ambulances, and police cruisers are given priority, followed by other public service vehicles such as buses, road crews, and sanitation trucks. Beneath them are taxi cabs and delivery trucks. Below those are other cars. Driving a car with out-of-state license plates (save for perhaps Connecticut or New Jersey) will instantly mark you as an outsider, sometimes resulting in other drivers being more aggressive around you than they would with a local. Suffice it to say, driving in New York is not for the timid or emotionally fragile.
However, driving can be an exciting adventure, particularly on the parkways, with their numerous twists and turns. (Just watch out for other drivers, as noted above.) Also, since buses don't serve some of the parkways, driving or taking a taxi might be a workable option for those. Nonetheless, try to use bicycles or walk on the pedestrian trails near those parkways, where they exist; trails are less harrowing and you'd probably enjoy the scenery better.
The major car rental agencies have offices at all three airports as well as throughout the city. Smaller agencies are also well represented. Be warned that car rentals in New York are generally more expensive than elsewhere in the United States, especially on weekends, when the locals rent cars to get out of the city. Rentals may require a deposit of up to $500 if you do not have a credit card. New York state law caps rental car collision damage waiver at $9 per day ($15 per day for premium cars), which is quite a bit less than in most other states. At that price, it's not a bad idea to add it to your rental, even if you have another source of coverage. (For more on rental car insurance in New York, check out the New York Attorney General's page on the subject. http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/car-rental-tip-sheet) Unlike most other states in the U.S., New York state law requires rental companies to rent to anyone at least 18 years of age, but there are hefty fees for those under 25.
Car-sharing services like Zipcar and Hertz 24/7 are very well represented.
Gas stations are few and far between, especially in Manhattan, where only a handful exist around the perimeter of the island. Be prepared to pay up to $0.10 more per gallon than in the surrounding suburbs or New Jersey. Therefore, if you have the option, it is best to fill your car while you aren't in NYC, as long as you have enough gas to last!
Points of entry
There are several points of entry/exit into the city from the New Jersey side: the Lincoln Tunnel (midtown/41st Street), the Holland Tunnel (downtown/Canal Street), and the George Washington Bridge (way uptown/178th Street) — all are accessible from the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95). I-78 east will also feed directly into the Holland Tunnel (US-1/9 is also a popular route). I-80 east will terminate at an I-95 junction, the north route of which will lead directly to the George Washington Bridge. The bridge is also directly accessible from US-46 east. With all of these options, many commuters choose to listen to 24 hour traffic reports on AM stations 880 (every ten minutes on the 8's) and 1010 (every ten minutes on the 1's) to find the least congested route at that time. Weekend traffic delays can easily exceed 60 minutes at some of the tunnels, so plan accordingly!
The Midtown Tunnel under the East River is convenient for Long Island travelers, as it becomes the Long Island Expressway. The Queensborough Bridge (aka The 59th Street Bridge) also crosses the East River into Queens, is toll-free, and lands near the mouth of the Midtown Tunnel but requires some automotive manipulation to get onto a highway. Other routes head north and east out of the Bronx, including Interstates 87 (north to Albany) and 95 (northeast to Boston) and the Henry Hudson Parkway, which is along the Hudson River.
When entering New York from New Jersey, as well as when driving across bridges and tunnels within New York City, you will incur tolls of up to $15, and associated traffic delays.
Rush hour traffic
Traveling at off-hours makes sense to avoid rush hour traffic, but highways and roads are still generally packed any time of day. The Cross Bronx Expressway, which is part of I-95 and leads to the George Washington Bridge, is almost always choked with traffic. The Long Island Expressway has heavy eastbound traffic between the morning and evening rushes. The Holland and Lincoln Tunnels are 10-minute waits on a good day. The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) is notorious, and an accident on the Verazzano Bridge without shoulders can cause a backup all the way through the northern part of Staten Island into New Jersey. It is a good idea to check radio traffic reports, especially before crossing a bridge or tunnel. Three different stations have reports every 10 minutes around the clock: 880 AM (on the 8's), 1010 AM (on the 1's), and 1130 AM (on the 5's).
Driving cross-town (east-west) in Manhattan during rush hours is especially troublesome because the traffic lights are optimized to move traffic along the north-south roads. Your best bet is to avoid driving in Midtown Manhattan (between the 30s and 50s) whenever possible. If you do drive in Midtown Manhattan cross-town, posted Midtown Thru Streets may reduce delays.
Traveling with a commercial vehicle
If you are traveling with a commercial vehicle (defined as any vehicle designed to transport property with two axles and six tires, or three or more axles) remember that commercial traffic is prohibited on many roadways throughout the city. Commercial traffic is permitted only on roadways designated as Through and Local Truck Routes. Commercial traffic is prohibited on all multiple-lane roadways designated as "parkways" (such as the Grand Central Parkway, Cross-Island Parkway, or Henry Hudson Parkway) with frequent low bridges. Unfortunately, the majority of fast-moving roadways are designated as parkways in New York City. Commercial traffic is also prohibited on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Drive in Manhattan. Before traveling anywhere in New York City with a commercial vehicle, refer to the New York City Truck Route Map.
Parking in garages or outdoor lots is usually very expensive, costing as much as $40 per day in Manhattan, although cheap or free lot parking is available at some times at certain locations. Street parking can be free or much cheaper than garage or lot parking, but can be extremely hard to come by. In Manhattan, self-park (or "park-and-lock") is extremely rare. The overwhelming majority of parking facilities in Manhattan have mandatory valet parking, so you must set aside a few dollars for tips, and anticipate the time it will take for a valet to retrieve your vehicle. Self-park garages in Manhattan near major tourist attractions include the Battery Parking Garage in Lower Manhattan, Manhattan Plaza Parking in Midtown Manhattan, and the public parking garage underneath the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In the case of parallel parking on the street, "bumping" cars in front of and behind of you to get into and out of a parking spot (known to some as "Braille Parking") is common. If you choose to park on the street, don't be surprised if you find a few new scratches and scrapes on your bumper.
As a general rule, hotels in New York do not supply garage parking. The few that do will charge you handsomely for the privilege.
There are several websites and mobile apps that can help you find and book parking, including: ParkMe.com, SpotHero, PrimoSpot.com, ParkFast.com, ParkWhiz.com, DiscountNYCParking.com, BestParking.com, Parkopedia.com, IconParking.com, ParkFast.com, NYC Parking Authority, and Parking Panda.
Street parking - rules and penalties for violation
Check all parking signs carefully. Parking meters demand constant feeding, and are hungry late into the night in some areas. In some parts of Midtown Manhattan, there are pay-and-display meters which are only in effect from 6PM to midnight on weekdays and all day on weekends. In these areas, parking is prohibited during the workday, except for commercial trucks. It is a good idea to keep a roll of quarters in your car, as not all meters accept credit cards. Parking is permitted at broken or missing meters for the time posted on the signs. Parking is illegal at ALL bus stops and within 15 feet (4.5 m) of fire hydrants. Yellow lines on the curb have no legal meaning in NYC, so they cannot be relied upon to tell you if you are parked far enough from a hydrant. That said, in most areas the seams in the sidewalk are roughly five feet apart, so leaving at least three "squares" of sidewalk between the hydrant and your bumper is a smart move. Many motorists simply pay garage fees to avoid the anxiety of finding a parking spot and the risks of expensive parking tickets.
New York has "alternate side of the street" parking rules, which may require street parkers to move their cars at different times of the day (such as early morning, or overnight in a few business districts) so that street sweepers can clean the roads. Alternate side rules are suspended on many obscure holidays, while parking meters and other weekday restrictions are only suspended on a few major holidays (not even on all Federal holidays).
Trying to leave a car parked illegally for very long will often end with a $150 fine, and a vehicle illegally parked in an overcrowded place is very likely to be towed away and face a $300 fine. The New York Police Department operates the tow pounds.
Important rules while driving
The speed limit throughout the city is 25 mph (as of November 7, 2014).
Unlike other places in the United States, right turns on red are illegal, except where otherwise posted. While some entrances to New York City have signs alerting motorists that it is illegal to turn on red, other drivers from out of town may not know this rule.
As in the rest of New York State, talking on a cell-phone (without a hands-free device) or texting while driving is illegal. Even if you do have a hands-free device, minimize your talking and prioritize driving.
There are red light cameras at 100 intersections in New York City. A camera will take a picture if you run a red light and a fine disputable on the web will be issued in 30 days. However, since the camera does not identify who is driving the vehicle, no points will be issued against your drivers' license.
Some bus lanes have video cameras. A camera will take a video if you drive illegally in the bus lane other than to turn right and a fine disputable on the web will be issued in 30 days.
If there is an emergency vehicle trying to get through with its siren blaring, pull over to the side and move forward as necessary. On many one-way streets (avenues in particular), the middle lane is designated as the "FIRE LANE" so that motorists can pull over to either side lane.
Some avenues and many streets have only one-way traffic. Thankfully, one-way streets generally alternate direction, so if your destination is down a one-way street going in the wrong direction, go another block and double-back. A handy mnemonic is "Evens go East," meaning that, for the most part, streets (in Manhattan) with even numbers will head east, and vice-versa. The best gauge to determine a one way street's direction is to check the direction parked cars face.
Be wary of your surroundings when you park your car. While NYC is a safe city for its size, it's not necessarily safe for your car as well. Make it as unworthy to steal as possible.
Using a bicycle in New York City is common among New Yorkers and tourists alike. Bike paths can be found in every borough of the city, in three forms: bike lanes (road lanes specifically for bicycles), shared lanes (lanes shared between cars and bicycles), and greenways (roads solely designated to bicycles and pedestrians). Greenways are highly recommended for those wishing to go on a recreational journey. The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway circles (almost) the whole of Manhattan, and protected bikeways exist on some major avenues. However, most destinations will require some street biking. A map of bike paths in New York City can be found here. Bike shops give out free maps provided by the City. They show bike routes and shops, and indicate the ones that offer rentals.
The city has a new bike share program, called CitiBike. The program has 330 stations in Lower and Midtown Manhattan and the Downtown Brooklyn area. A map can be found here To access a bike, first visit one of the locations and pay for a pass. 24-hour passes cost $9.95 and 7-day passes cost $25.00 (tax not included). You will receive a card and a code; enter the code into a bike, and you can use it. Be warned that after 30 minutes of use, you will be charged overtime fees. Return your bike to a station (remember to place it securely in a dock–you will be further fined if the light on the dock does not turn green) within 30 minutes to avoid this. You can take out another bike and continue your journey if necessary. Using CitiBike is not recommended if you plan on using a bike for a prolonged period of time.
Cycling in Manhattan can often be quicker than taking the subway or a taxi, but it isn't for the fainthearted. The borough's tumultuous traffic makes biking difficult. Aggressive cab drivers, jaywalking pedestrians, potholes and debris on the roads create a cycling experience that might just as well have been taken from Dante's Inferno. If you do venture into the concrete jungle on a bike, make sure you wear a helmet and have sufficient experience in urban cycling.
Cycling in Brooklyn and The Bronx can be more rewarding, or not, depending on the neighborhood. There are few bike paths in Queens, however, the roads are bike-friendly for the most part.
Cycling is not recommended in Staten Island. Access is difficult, with the only way to get in being the Staten Island Ferry. There are only a handful of bike paths on the entire island, mostly on the south shore. This is unfortunate, as Staten Island has beautiful displays of nature in some of its parks, most of which are accessible only on foot or by bicycle. If you are looking for scenery, by all means, take your bike with you on the ferry, but do not rely on it for transportation on the street.
Like most of the great world cities, New York has an abundance of great attractions - so many, that it would be impossible to list them all here. What follows is but a sampling of the most high-profile attractions in New York City; more detailed info can be found in the district pages.
A general word of advice on sightseeing in New York: Tourists often spend their entire vacation in New York standing in line. This is often unnecessary; there are usually alternatives. For example, one can choose to avoid the Empire State Building during the day (it is open, and much quieter, late, until 2AM), skip the Statue of Liberty in favor of the Staten Island Ferry, and stay away from the Guggenheim on Monday (it is one of the only museums open that day). Also, there is no reason to stand in line for a Broadway show if you already have a ticket with an assigned seat. If you prefer, get a drink nearby and come back closer to curtain time, when you can walk right in. The lines for bus tours can be absurd because tourists all seem to have exactly the same itinerary - which is get on a bus in the morning in Times Square, get off for the Statue of Liberty, and finish on the East Side in the afternoon. Why not go downtown in the morning, and save Midtown for the afternoon? You will thank yourself for avoiding the crowds. Also, understand that buses are the slowest way to go crosstown in Midtown Manhattan during peak hours, and taxis are not much better. You are often better off on foot.
A number of multi-attraction schemes give reduced prices and line-skipping privileges.
Explorer Pass. Allows you to choose 7, 5 or 3 top attractions to visit. Cardholders have 30 days to use the card after visiting the first attraction. Attractions to choose from include Top of the Rock Observation, Rockefeller Center Tour, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NBC Studio Tour, movie tours, cruises, and more. Also included with the card are shopping, dining, and additional attraction discounts.
New York CityPASS. Grants admission to 6 New York attractions within 9 days of first use for a much reduced rate. The attractions are Empire State Building; Metropolitan Museum of Art and same-day admission to The Cloisters; American Museum of Natural History; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); Option Ticket One with choice of either Top of the Rock Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum; Option Ticket Two with choice of either a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise or Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. $89 adult, $64 youth aged 6–17.
New York Pass. Grants access to over 50 top attractions with line skipping privileges. Passes are available for 1 day ($80 adult, $60 child), 2 days ($130 adult, $110 child), 3 days ($140 adult, $120 child) or 7 days ($180 adult, $140 child). Remember, you must obtain a ticket in each attraction. You can visit as many attractions as you want in the time period - the more attractions you visit, the more you save. Also includes a free 140 page guide book, but is much better to organize your visits previously, via internet.See also the district pages for detailed information about attractions. Detail is gradually being moved from this page to the district pages.
Naturally, Manhattan possesses the lion's share of the landmarks that have saturated American popular culture. Starting in the Financial District, perhaps the most famous of these landmarks is easy to spot - the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the nation standing atop a small island in the harbor, and perhaps also the most difficult attraction to access in terms of crowds and the long lines to see it. Nearby Ellis Island preserves the site where millions of immigrants completed their journey to America. Within the Financial District itself, Wall Street acts as the heart of big business being the home of the New York Stock Exchange, although the narrow street also holds some historical attractions, namely Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States. Furthermore, there is a large statue of a bull that tourists often take pictures with. Nearby, the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Site commemorates the victims of that fateful day. Connecting the Financial District to Downtown Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge offers fantastic views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.
Moving north to Midtown, Manhattan's other major business district, you'll find some of New York's most famous landmarks. The Empire State Building looms over Midtown, with the nearby Chrysler Building also dominating the landscape. Nearby is the headquarters of United Nations overlooking the East River and Grand Central Terminal, one of the busiest train stations in the world. Also nearby is the main branch of the New York Public Library, a beautiful building famous for its magnificent reading rooms and the lion statues outside the front door; and Rockefeller Plaza, home to NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, and (during the winter) the famous Christmas Tree and Skating Rink.
Still in the Midtown area but just to the west, in the Theater District, is the tourist center of New York: Times Square, filled with bright, flashing video screens and LED signs running 24 hours a day. Just to the north is Central Park, with its lawns, trees and lakes popular for recreation and concerts.
Museums and galleries
New York has some of the finest museums in the world. All the public museums (notably including the Metropolitan Museum and the American Museum of Natural History), which are run by the city, accept donations for an entrance fee, but private museums (especially the Museum of Modern Art) can be very expensive. In addition to the major museums, hundreds of small galleries are spread throughout the city, notably in neighborhoods like Chelsea and Williamsburg. Many galleries and museums in New York close on Mondays, so be sure to check hours before visiting. The following is just a list of highlights; see district pages for more listings.
Arts and culture
New York City is home to some of the finest art museums in the country, and in Manhattan, you'll find the grandest of them all. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park has vast holdings that represent a series of collections, each of which ranks in its category among the finest in the world. Within this single building you'll find perhaps the world's finest collection of American artwork, period rooms, thousands of European paintings including Rembrandts and Vermeers, the greatest collection of Egyptian art outside Cairo, one of the world's finest Islamic art collections, Asian art, European sculpture, medieval and Renaissance art, and antiquities from around the ancient world. As if all that wasn't enough, the Metropolitan also operates The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, which houses a collection of medieval art and incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters and other monastic sites in southern France in its renowned gardens.
Near the Metropolitan, in the Upper East Side, is the Guggenheim Museum. Although more famed for its architecture than the collection it hosts, the spiraling galleries are ideal for exhibiting art works. The nearby Frick Collection houses a smaller though well-regarded collection of paintings by the old masters. In Midtown, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), holds the most comprehensive collection of modern art in the world, and is so large as to require multiple visits to see all of the works on display, which include Van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, as well as an extensive industrial design collection. Midtown is also home to the Paley Center for Media, a museum dedicated to television and radio, including a massive database of old shows. The Whitney Museum of American Art, with a collection of contemporary American art, can be found in the Meatpacking District.
In Brooklyn's Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum of Art is the city's second largest art museum with excellent collections of Egyptian art, Assyrian reliefs, 19th-century American art, and art from Africa and Oceania, among other things. Long Island City in Queens is home to a number of art museums, including the PS1 Contemporary Art Center, an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of the Moving Image, which showcases movies and the televisual arts.
Science and technology
In New York City, no museum holds a sway over children like the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Containing the Hayden Planetarium, incredible astronomy exhibits, animal dioramas, many rare and beautiful gems and mineral specimens, anthropology halls, and one of the largest collections of dinosaur skeletons in the world, this place offers plenty of stunning sights.
Near Times Square in the Theater District, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum takes up a pier on the Hudson River, with the aircraft carrier Intrepid docked here and holding some incredible air and space craft, including a former British Airways Concorde.
Over in the Flushing district of Queens, on the grounds of the former World's Fair, is the New York Hall of Science, which incorporates the Great Hall of the fair and now full of hands-on exhibits for kids to enjoy.
Another standout museum is the Transit Museum in an abandoned station in Downtown Brooklyn. The old subway cars are a real treat and the museum is a must if you're in New York with kids (and well-worth it even if you're not).
Until the mid-20th century, New York was a predominantly industrial city. While most factories have been torn down, some neighborhoods, such as SoHo and the Meatpacking District, remain as a heritage of manufacturing. See the American Industry Tour.
Like all great cities, New York is made up of distinct neighborhoods, each of which has its own flavor. Many of the neighborhoods are popular with visitors, and all are best experienced on foot. See individual borough pages (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island) for a comprehensive listing of neighborhoods.
Though the image many people have of New York is endless skyscrapers and packed sidewalks, the city also boasts numerous lovely parks, ranging from small squares to the 850-acre Central Park. There are worthwhile parks in every borough, more than enough to keep any visitor busy. These include Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, which boasts grand views of the New Jersey Palisades, the grand Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx, the popular Prospect Park in Brooklyn, the famous Flushing Meadow Park in Corona, Queens, site of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, and the wondrous Greenbelt in Staten Island, a collection of beautiful parks and protected forests unlike any other park in the city. New York City is also home to portions of the Gateway National Recreation Area. Almost any park is a great spot to rest, read, or just relax and watch the people streaming past. To find out more about New York City parks, go to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website and the guide pages for each borough. Except for special events, all NYC parks are closed 1AM–6AM. The exception to this rule is parks affiliated with schools, which are closed for the entire time the sun is down.
Theater and performing arts
New York boasts an enormous amount and variety of theatrical performances. Most of these are concentrated in Manhattan, particularly the Theater District around Times Square, where you'll find the major musicals and big-name dramatic works of Broadway. These are the most popular with visitors, with tickets for some shows running to $130 a seat, though discounters make cheaper seats available. And if you're in town in early June (and willing to spend a lot of money), it's possible to purchase tickets to the Tony Awards, Broadway's biggest award ceremony and the culmination of the theatrical season in the city. However, you can also find "Off-Broadway" shows (and even the dirt cheap and very small "Off-Off-Broadway" shows) throughout Manhattan that play to smaller audiences and are far less expensive. Playbill.com is a good resource for current and upcoming Broadway and Off-Broadway info and listings. See the Manhattan page for more detailed info on theater offerings.
Some of New York's (and the world's) most high-profile music and dance halls include the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Downtown Brooklyn, Carnegie Hall - the premier venue for classical music in the United States - in Manhattan's Theater District, Radio City Music Hall - home of the Rockettes - in Midtown, and the Lincoln Center in the Upper West Side, home to the prestigious Chamber Music Society, the Metropolitan Opera ("the Met"), the New York City Ballet, and the New York Philharmonic. There are also numerous small companies putting on more idiosyncratic shows every night of the week.
Film and television
New York is one of the world's greatest film cities, home to a huge number of theaters playing independent and repertory programs. Many major US studio releases open earlier in New York than elsewhere (especially in the autumn) and can be found at the major cineplexes (AMC, United Artists, etc.) around the city. As with everything else in New York, movies are quite popular, and even relatively obscure films at unappealing times of the day can still be sold out. It's best to get tickets in advance whenever possible. As many films premiere in New York, you can often catch a moderated discussion with the director or cast after the show. Sometimes even repertory films will have post-screening discussions or parties. Check listings for details.
In addition to the many commercial multiplexes throughout the city, some of the more intriguing New York film options include the several theaters in Greenwich Village and the East Village which play independent and foreign releases, many of which are screened only in New York. The Film Society at Lincoln Center in the Upper West Side puts on a terrific repertory program and shows a wide variety of experimental and foreign films, and also hosts the prestigious New York Film Festival in October. Another major film festival is the Tribeca Film Festival, held each May and a prominent event in New York's film calendar. The Museum of the Moving Image in Long Island City in Queens puts on a terrific screening program, with films showing continuously throughout the day, while MoMa in Midtown Manhattan puts on a terrific repertory program (and compared to other New York movie theaters, tickets to films at MoMA are a steal).
Virtually every major national television network has studios in Manhattan, particularly the Midtown area, and many well-known programs are open to viewers. Rockefeller Center is home to NBC Studios and its flagship shows, including Saturday Night Live and Today, and is open for tours. Lincoln Square boasts programming produced for ABC, such as The View and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, at the network's West 66th Street facility. More examples of popular programs you can see in person can be found on the Manhattan page.
New York City hosts many parades, street festivals and outdoor pageants. The following are the most famous:
New York's Village Halloween Parade. Each Halloween (October 31) at 7PM. This parade and street pageant attracts 2 million spectators and 50,000 costumed participants along Sixth Avenue between Spring Street and 21st Street. Anyone in a costume is welcome to march; those wishing to should show up between 6PM-9PM at Spring Street and 6th Avenue.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The morning of each Thanksgiving on Central Park West, this parade attracts many spectators and is broadcast on nationwide television.
St. Patrick's Day Parade. The largest St. Paddy's parade in the world! Route is up 5th Ave from 44th Street to 86th Street and lasts from 11AM to about 2:30. Celebrations in pubs citywide happen the rest of the day and night until the green beer runs out.
Labor Day (aka West Indian Day Parade or New York Caribbean Carnival). The Labor Day Carnival, or West Indian Carnival, is an annual celebration held in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Its main event is the West Indian-American Day Parade, which attracts between one and three million spectators, who watch the parade on its route along Eastern Parkway.
A number of professional and collegiate teams play in the New York metropolitan area.
The New York Yankees play Major League Baseball at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx (East 161st Street and River Avenue. Subway: 4, B, D to 161st Street-Yankee Stadium). One of the most storied and lucrative sports franchises in the world, the Yankees have won 27 World Series championships in all.
Citi Field in Flushing Meadows (126th Street and Roosevelt Avenue. Subway: 7 to Mets-Willets Point) is home to the New York Mets, who also play Major League Baseball.
In addition to its many concerts and the annual Westminster Dog Show, Madison Square Garden hosts the New York Knicks of the NBA and New York Rangers of the NHL, plus annual postseason college basketball for the Big East Conference and the National Invitation Tournament. It had been home to the New York Liberty of the WNBA through the 2017 season, but that team has moved to Westchester County Center in White Plains, and only plays a small number of games at the Garden. (Pennsylvania Plaza. Subway: 1, 2, 3, A, C, E to 34th Street-Penn Station)
Long based in New Jersey, the Brooklyn Nets basketball team moved to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Vanderbilt Yards. Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, R to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center) in 2012.
Other NHL teams are the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. The Islanders now split their home games between Nassau Coliseum (in Uniondale, a bit less than 30 miles east of midtown Manhattan) and the Barclays Center, the latter shared with the Nets. The Islanders had played at the Coliseum for more than 40 years before moving in 2015 to Barclays Center, returning to the since-renovated Coliseum on a part-time basis in 2018. The Devils skate at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, 12 miles west of midtown. The Islanders have announced plans to return to Nassau County in 2021 at a new arena to be built next to the Belmont Park horse racing track in Elmont, just outside of Queens (a little less than 20 miles east of Midtown).
Two National Football League teams play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, 10 miles northwest of midtown Manhattan. The New York Giants in the National Football Conference have won four Super Bowls, while the New York Jets of the American Football Conference have won one.
Staten Island Yankees. Play Minor League Baseball (New York-Penn League, McNamara division) at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark. They are a Short-Season Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees.
Brooklyn Cyclones. Play Minor League Baseball (New York-Penn League, McNamara division) at MCU Park. They are a Short-Season Class A affiliate of the Mets.
The Knicks and Nets both field teams in the NBA G League, the official minor league of the NBA, with both playing in the suburbs. The Westchester Knicks play at Westchester County Center (also home to the Liberty), while the Long Island Nets play at the Nassau Coliseum.
There are three top-level soccer franchises, two men's and one women's, in the Tri-State area. The New York Red Bulls (Major League Soccer) play home matches at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, 11 miles from midtown Manhattan. New York City FC (partially owned by the Yankees) became the Tri-State's second MLS team in 2015; they are playing in Yankee Stadium until they can build a new stadium of their own. Sky Blue FC, a member of the National Women's Soccer League, plays its home games at Yurcak Field on the Rutgers University campus.
James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, New York is home to the New York Lizards of Major League Lacrosse.
MCU Park will also host Rugby United New York, which will begin play in Major League Rugby (rugby union) in 2019.
NCAA Division I athletic programs around New York City include the following:
St. John's Red Storm (St. John's University) in Jamaica, Queens. Higher-profile men's basketball games are often played at the Garden.
Seton Hall Pirates (Seton Hall University) in South Orange, New Jersey (20 miles west of midtown). Men's basketball games are played at the Prudential Center.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (the main campus of Rutgers University) in New Brunswick, New Jersey (40 miles southwest of midtown).
Army Black Knights (United States Military Academy) in West Point, New York (50 miles north of midtown).
Columbia Lions (Columbia University) in Morningside Heights, Manhattan.
Fordham Rams (Fordham University) in Fordham, Bronx.
Manhattan Jaspers (Manhattan College) in Riverdale, Bronx.
LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds (Brooklyn campus of Long Island University) in Downtown Brooklyn. After the 2018–19 school year, Long Island University will merge the LIU Brooklyn program with the Division II program of its other primary campus, the LIU Post Pioneers from the Nassau County community of Brookville (25 miles east of midtown). The new program will play under the LIU name with a new nickname, inheriting the Division I membership of the Brooklyn campus. After the merger, some LIU sports (most notably basketball) will be based in Brooklyn, while others (most notably football) will be based on the Post campus.
St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers (St. Francis College) in Brooklyn Heights.
Wagner Seahawks (Wagner College) in Grymes Hill, Staten Island.
Iona Gaels (Iona College) in New Rochelle, New York (20 miles northeast of midtown).
NJIT Highlanders (New Jersey Institute of Technology) in Newark, New Jersey (9 miles west of midtown). A few men's basketball games are played at the Prudential Center.
Saint Peter's Peacocks and Peahens (Saint Peter's University) in Jersey City, New Jersey (9 miles southwest of midtown).
Stony Brook Seawolves (Stony Brook University) in Stony Brook in Suffolk County (55 miles east of midtown).
The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows (Corona Park. Subway: 7 to Mets-Willets Point) is the site of the US Open tennis tournament, held yearly in late August and early September.
Part of horse racing's Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes are run in June at Belmont Park in nearby Elmont, 20 miles east of midtown Manhattan. (The exact timing is five weeks after the Kentucky Derby, a race that is always held on the first Saturday of May.)
Unsurprisingly, New York City, the largest city in the United States, is home to many colleges and universities. Among these universities, Columbia University and New York University (NYU) are undoubtedly the most prestigious (but also the most expensive). Another notable university is Rockefeller University, in which several significant biomedical discoveries were made, though unlike the other two, it does not have undergraduate programs and only admits graduate students. And the city also has its very own system of public colleges, City University of New York, with every borough represented among its numerous branches.
New York City has a reputation for being one of the world's most expensive cities, and it can be, particularly when it comes to accommodation. That being said, there are ways to limit the damage; food is available from many halal food trucks for $5, which will get you rice with meat, vegetables and a soft drink, and you can still find $1 pizza slices at many of the hole-in-the-wall pizzerias throughout the city. Supermarkets and convenience stores generally also sell basic items at reasonable prices (by Western standards).
New York is the fashion capital of the United States, and is a major shopping destination for people around the world. The city boasts an unmatched range of department stores, boutiques, and specialty shops. Some neighborhoods boast more shopping options than most other American cities and have become famous as consumer destinations. Anything you could possibly want to buy can be found in New York, including clothing, cameras, computers and accessories, music, musical instruments, electronic equipment, art supplies, sporting goods, and all kinds of foodstuffs and kitchen appliances. See the borough pages and district sub-pages for listings of some of the more important stores and major business districts, of which there are several. New York state has a sales tax exemption on all clothing items that cost less than $100.
The popular place to begin is Manhattan, most notably Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, where the iconic flagship stores of many major department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel and Lord & Taylor are located. Other notable department stores in Manhattan include the world-famous Macy's at Herald Square, and Bloomingdale's on 59th Street between 3rd Avenue and Lexington Avenue. Of course, for dirt-cheap knockoffs, the various Chinatowns in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn respectively are the place to go.
New York City is not known for budget shopping, but during major sales, such as the Black Friday sale after Thanksgiving, prices of some out-of-season items have been known to be slashed by as much as 50%, meaning that it is possible to find good deals for genuine luxury brand-name items if you are there at the right time. Savvy New Yorkers shop after Christmas and especially after New Year's.
Anyone can freely create, display, and sell art, including paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, DVDs, and CDs, based on freedom of speech rights. Thousands of artists earn their livings on New York's streets and parks. Common places to find street artists selling their work are SoHo, the Financial District and near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
New York City has a number of retail outlet locations, offering substantial discounts and the opportunity to purchase ends-of-line and factory seconds. Century 21 (several locations) is one of the largest stores where New Yorkers get designer clothing for less.
Convenience stores, pharmacies, and supermarkets
Basic food, drinks, snacks, medicine, and toiletries can be found at decent prices at the ubiquitous Duane Reade (owned by Walgreens), CVS, and Rite Aid stores. For a more authentically New York experience, stop by one of the thousands of bodegas/delis/groceries. Although some of these stores have a somewhat ramshackle appearance, they are reliable though often not the cheapest places to purchase groceries, water, flowers, coffee, and cooked food, typically 24/7.
Except for Whole Foods Market, an upscale chain and Trader Joe's, a more economical one, no national supermarket chain has been able to establish a permanent foothold in New York City. Discount store chains Walmart and Target sell groceries at their larger stores, of which many can be found in outlying suburbs around the New York metro area. However, only Target has entered the outer boroughs, and its sole Manhattan location is in an inconvenient corner of Harlem, adjacent to the sole Manhattan location of national warehouse store chain Costco.
Shopping in airports
Most shops in New York-area airports are chain outlets, the same as can be found in most large airports in the world, so it's pretty difficult to feel the spirit of the fashion capital if you only have 2 hours waiting for a connecting flight. At JFK, JetBlue Airways' new Terminal 5 is populated with modern, cutting-edge restaurants and shops, but terminals 4 and 8 are also relatively good places for retail and duty-free shopping.
In New York City it is common for street vendors to set up tables on the sidewalk, close to the curb, and sell items. They are required to obtain a permit to perform this activity, but it is legal. Purchasing from these vendors is generally legitimate, although buying brand name goods from them (particularly expensive clothing and movies) is generally ill-advised unless you want cheap imitation products. It is considered safe to buy less expensive goods from these vendors, but most will not accept payment by credit card, so you will have to bring cash. Be particularly wary of any street vendor that does not sell from a table (especially vendors who approach you with their merchandise in a briefcase), as these goods are almost certainly cheap imitation products.
New York has, as you might expect of the Big Apple, all the eating options covered and you can find almost every type of food available and every cuisine of the world represented. There are literally tens of thousands of restaurants, ranging from dingy $0.99-a-slice pizza joints to $500-a-plate prix fixe sushi. Thousands of delis, bodegas, and grocery stores dot every corner of the city and do it yourself meals are easy and cheap to find. Street food comes in various tastes, ranging from the ubiquitous New York hot dog vendors to the many middle eastern carts at street corners in Midtown. Fast food is as plentiful and as diverse as you can imagine. Fruit stalls appear at many intersections from spring to fall with ready to eat strawberries, bananas, apples, etc. available at very low cost and vegetarian and vegan options abound throughout the city.
Don't leave without trying
New York pizza
A peculiarly New York thing, a true New York pizza is a plain cheese pizza with a very thin crust (sometimes chewy, sometimes crisp), and an artery-hardening sheen of grease on top. From just about any pizzeria you can get a whole pie with a variety of toppings available, or a "dollar slice" if you just want a piece of plain cheese pizza. Just fold in half lengthwise, be sure to grab a lot of napkins, and enjoy. Or pick up one with pepperoni - the quintessential meal on the go in New York. Dollar-slice places can be found all over the city, and include the many different variations of "Ray's Pizza", all of which claim to be the original thing. However, perhaps the most respected of the corner joints is the wildly popular Joe's in Greenwich Village.
But while pizza in New York is generally considered a fast food, the most respected pizzerias in the city are those that act like sit-down restaurants, and some of them serve whole pies only, no slices. Except for DiFara's, all the following pizzerias use a classic New York style of coal-fired, rather than gas-fired ovens, which allows them to bake their pizza for a very short time at very high temperatures, producing a unique style of crispy, slightly charred crust that makes their output quite different from the average corner slice shop. Every New Yorker has their own personal favorite, but several routinely make it to the top of the list. Lombardi's in Little Italy is regarded as the oldest pizzeria in town and continues to draw in big crowds of tourists, but Patsy's in East Harlem has long been regarded by connoisseurs as serving perhaps the purest example of plain New York-style coal-oven pizza (don't order any toppings, though). Greenwich Village is the center of pizza on Manhattan, home to not only Joe's but also the classic John's and the popular Arturo's. In Brooklyn, Grimaldi's in DUMBO is hugely popular with lines that go down the street, while Totonno's on Coney Island and Di Fara's in Midwood remain mainstays with the locals. There are also excellent brick-oven establishments serving Neapolitan or other styles of pizza that are not classic New York but well worth having.
New York hot dog
Nothing represents New York street food like the almighty hot dog. Affectionately called "dirty water dogs" by the locals, a New York hot dog is typically all-beef, served in a plain bun, and topped with mustard, ketchup, relish, or any combination of the three. You can get one from pushcarts on seemingly every street corner and park in the city. Just wrap the dog in a paper napkin and walk along the sidewalk trying not to let the toppings slip and slide all over your hands. And of course, both ballparks make sure to keep their fans' hot dog needs satisfied.
However, there are a few places that go a step beyond the typical dirty water dog, with better cooked dogs and a much greater variety of toppings available. Many hot dog enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to the original hot dog stand, Nathan's on Coney Island, although locals generally view it as a tourist trap. In Manhattan, Papaya King (on the Upper East Side) and Gray's Papaya (on the Upper West Side) are favorites, so-named because they also serve tropical drinks with their frankfurters. In addition to their sandwiches, Katz's on the Lower East Side is also reputed for an excellent deli dog. In the East Village, Crif Dogs draws people in for their deep-fried, beef-and-pork (and often bacon-wrapped!) dogs. Dominick's food truck commands a fiercely loyal crowd, who flock to a quiet side of Queens to get a taste. People looking for a good bratwurst should try the Hallo Berlin cart on 54th and Fifth in Midtown, while Chicago purists should head to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.
New York bagel
There is no bagel like the New York bagel anywhere else in the world. Bagels are a doughnut-shaped round of boiled dough that is then baked until it has a distinctive, chewy, sweet interior and a leathery outer crust. They arrived from the old world with Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and have become utterly New York in character. You can get bagels anywhere in the city, but for the best bagels you may have to trek away from the main tourist sites. The key point, though, is get them when they are hot (and that does not mean reheated in the microwave). Some places actively discourage toasting; try them fresh out of the oven. Good bagel shops will offer a variety of cream cheese spreads and sandwich stuffings, like lox, salmon, tofu spreads, onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers, among others.
On Manhattan, many people swear by Ess'a Bagel in Midtown, with their giant bagels and huge variety of toppings, although bagel purists respect Murray's in Greenwich Village and Chelsea for their refusal to allow toasting. Other places in Manhattan which command fiercely loyal followings are Brooklyn Bagel, also in Chelsea, and Absolute Bagels on the Upper West Side. In Brooklyn, Bagel Hole in Park Slope is a no-frills place with smaller bagels, and is often ranked as one of the top bagels in the city, while over in a quiet section of Queens, Bagel Oasis is regularly considered among the very best.
New York pastrami sandwich
Another delicacy brought over by Jewish immigrants, pastrami sandwiches are another specialty of New York City. A "Reuben", a grilled sandwich piled high with corned beef, Swiss cheese, dressing and sauerkraut between two slices of rye bread, is always a good choice. A good deli sandwich doesn't come cheap: be prepared to spend upwards of $15 for a good sandwich. Many delis also serve other Jewish specialties, such as matzo ball soup.
If you want pastrami, your best bet is Katz's Delicatessen, an institution on the Lower East Side that's been serving up excellent sandwiches for over a century. 2nd Ave Deli in Murray Hill is a famous kosher deli that's a real throwback to the Jewish delis of old. And if you find yourself over in East Brooklyn, Mill Basin Deli is known for some of the best pastrami in Brooklyn.
New York desserts
Another New York claim to fame is the New York cheesecake, which relies upon heavy cream, cream cheese, eggs and egg yolks to add a richness and a smooth consistency. It was made famous by Junior's, which still commands a loyal crowd with locations in Grand Central Terminal and Times Square, although the original is in Downtown Brooklyn. Other favorites are Eileen's in NoLiTa, Lady M and Two Little Red Hens in the Upper East Side and S&S in the Bronx (whose cheesecake is also sold at Zabar's on the Upper West Side).
Another dessert of New York origin is the egg cream, also often referred to as a "chocolate egg cream", a blend of chocolate syrup, milk, and seltzer water (note the curious absence of either egg or cream). Though not often on the menu at many diners, many will still prepare one for you if you ask for one. You can also find them in surprising places, like some newspaper and convenience stores in the East Village.
Maybe it's the size of New Yorkers' tiny kitchens, or perhaps it's the enormous melting-pot immigrant populations, but either way, this city excels at every kind of restaurant. There are fancy famous-chef restaurants, all ethnic cuisines and fusion/updates of ethnic cuisines (second-generation immigrants tweaking their family tradition), plus all the fashionable spots, casual bistros, lounges for drinking and noshing and more.
It's only a slight exaggeration to say that virtually every type of cuisine is available in New York. And in some neighborhoods you'll find many national and regional styles represented. However, certain neighborhoods, particularly those in Queens, really shine in terms of the sheer variety available to visitors. Where Manhattan's high rents often result in expensive restaurants and sometimes watered-down, unnaturally sweetened food, Queens' vast array of cuisines are often served primarily to patrons from the country where it originated. Not that Manhattan is completely bereft by any stretch, however: a wide variety of Chinese options can be found in Chinatown, there's the small Koreatown with some very good (but not necessarily cheap) restaurants, Washington Heights is the center for Dominican food, the East Village is full of Japanese eateries of various types, and part of Murray Hill is known as "Curry Hill" for its proliferation of Indian restaurants. But in Queens, Flushing offers a vast and diverse array of Chinese (including Northeastern, Sichuan, Hunanese, Shanghainese, etc.), Korean, and Indian eateries; Jackson Heights includes a prominent Indian section among a vast Latin American neighborhood whose eateries span the American continents from Chilean to Mexican and almost everything in between; nearby Elmhurst features various Southeast Asian (for example Vietnamese and Thai, with a couple of Indonesian and Malaysian restaurants thrown in) and Chinese cuisines, Long Island City has locally well-known Middle Eastern establishments among a very diverse set of good establishments; nearby Astoria is best known for its Greek food; and Rego Park has Uzbek dining halls. In Brooklyn, Brighton Beach is noted for its Russian eateries, while Sunset Park is home to a third Chinatown as well as plenty of Malaysian and Vietnamese options. Italian options can be found in virtually every neighborhood, although a higher number appear in Staten Island, the East Village, Greenwich Village, heavily Italian parts of Brooklyn like Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, and the area around Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. (Italian restaurants in Manhattan's "Little Italy" are mostly for tourists only, and New Yorkers generally avoid Mulberry St. between Canal and Broome.)
Due to the higher cost of living, you are in general expected to tip more in New York City than in other parts of the U.S. As a general rule, tips should start at 18% of the cost of the meal for adequate service, and may go up to 25% for service that goes above and beyond what is expected.
Restaurants with entrees under $25 are unlikely to have any preference about what their customers wear. Of course, like most major cities, New York has some expensive, extremely fashionable restaurants that care about, and enforce, a certain level of dress among their customers - but "jackets only" restaurants are very uncommon nowadays.
If you're from elsewhere in the US and wish to "pass" as a local within Manhattan, pay attention to your shoes and coat. Most local exclusiveness is pretty understated, but where it exists it's generally from nightlife commuters from New Jersey and Long Island that supposedly threaten to rob bar-filled neighborhoods of their local color. Therefore, if your style doesn't fit in but is obviously from outside the US, you may find yourself welcomed as graciously as any local, if not more so.
Vegetarians and vegans will find New York to be a paradise with hundreds of vegetarian-only restaurants and good veggie options in even the most expensive places. There are many vegetarian only restaurants with offerings varying from macrobiotic food to Ayurvedic thalis or Asian Buddhist food. But, more importantly, almost every restaurant at every point on the price scale has vegetarian dishes that are more than an afterthought. Even Per Se, one of the most expensive and sought after restaurants in the city, has a seven course vegetarian tasting menu well worth the expense. DIY vegetarians will have no problem finding fresh vegetables, a wide variety of cheese, bread, and prepared vegetarian foods in New York supermarkets.
Nothing differentiates New York more from other American (and European) cities than the astonishing amount of food cooked and served on the streets. Starting with the thousands of hot dog stands on almost every street corner, the possibilities are endless. People trek to Jackson Heights in Queens for a nibble of the famous arepas of the Arepa Lady. Freshly cooked Indian dosas are served up for a pittance at the NY Dosas stand in Washington Square Park. The Trinipak cart on 43rd and Sixth in Midtown serves delicious Trinidadian/Pakistani food. Danny Meyer, the famous restaurateur, runs the burger stand Shake Shack in Madison Square Park as well as several other locations throughout the city. The halal offerings in Midtown are legendary (Kwik-Meal on 45th and Sixth; Halal Guys on 53rd and Sixth and many others). Most carts serve lunch from about 11AM to 5 or 6PM in the evening and disappear after dark, so look for a cart near you, smell what's cooking, and enjoy a hot and often tasty lunch for a few dollars (a meal costs anywhere from about $2 to $8). Mornings, from about 6AM to 10AM, the streets are dotted with coffee carts that sell coffee, croissants, bagels, and Danish pastries and are good for a cheap breakfast: small coffee and bagel for a dollar or so. From 10AM to 7PM, many vendors sell lunch and dinner choices, including hot dogs, hamburgers, gyros, and halal. Other street vendors sell Italian ices, pretzels, ice cream, and roasted peanuts. Also, look around for the coffee truck (often found in Union Square), dessert truck, and the Belgian waffle truck that roam around the city.
Do it yourself
New York's many markets and grocery stores make preparing your own food interesting and easy. Almost every grocery store, deli, or bodega has a prepared foods section where you can make your own salad (beware, you are charged by the pound!) or buy ready to eat foods such as burritos, tacos, curries and rice, lasagna, pastas, pre-prepared or freshly-made sandwiches, and many other types of foods. Any supermarket will have enough to take away to the park or your hotel room for a low cost meal. Whole Foods has five New York City locations, all with a variety of foods and a clean place to sit and eat. Zabar's on the Upper West Side is very famous, with a huge selection of foodstuffs and expensive foods as well as cooking supplies. There is also a Trader Joe's at Union Square and in 6 other locations every borough but the Bronx for cheap but delicious supermarket buys, and Western Beef supermarkets offer more foods from different ethnicities than average supermarkets.
If you have a place to cook, you'll find almost any kind of food in New York though you may have to travel to the outer boroughs for ethnic ingredients. Most supermarkets have Thai, Chinese, and Indian sauces to add flavor to your pot, and many, especially in Upper Manhattan, have the ingredients necessary for a Mexican or Central American meal, but go to Chinatown for the best Chinese ingredients, Little India in Murray Hill for Indian ingredients, Flushing for all things Chinese or Korean, Jackson Heights for Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Indian, Flatbush and Crown Heights for Jamaican, Williamsburg for Kosher, and Greenpoint for Polish. Ask around for where you can get your favorite ethnic ingredients and you'll find traveling around in local neighborhoods a rewarding experience.
Last call is 4AM, although many establishments will let you stay beyond that, especially in the outer boroughs. It is not uncommon to be locked in a bar after 4AM so people can keep drinking. Wine and liquor are sold at liquor stores, and are not sold at delis or supermarkets. Beer cannot be bought between 4AM and 8AM on Sunday morning (although if you look hard, you can get around this).
Popular nightlife neighborhoods
The only thing about New York City that changes faster than the subway map or the restaurants is the bar scene. While some established watering holes have been around for decades or centuries, the hot spot of the moment may well have opened last week and could likely close just as quickly.
On Manhattan, Greenwich Village is probably the best neighborhood to go if you are in town for just a brief period, full of locals of all ages, especially students attending NYU. Chelsea has lots of clubs and a thriving gay scene, and if you are European and looking for a discothèque, this is where you want to be. The Meatpacking District holds trendier bars and clubs and some expensive restaurants. The Lower East Side, formerly the dingy alternative to the West Village, has become trendier today, with an influx of hipsters. The East Village also has lots of bars, as well as a sizeable cluster of Japanese bars. Nearby, Alphabet City, once a dangerous drug-addled hell hole, has since cleaned up and is loaded with bars. Murray Hill is more hip with the 30-year-old crowd, with many Indian restaurants and plenty of watering holes, including a couple of fireman bars and an all Irish whiskey pub. Times Square is a very touristy area with a few classy hotel rooftop bars, although very few New Yorkers would be caught dead at these places.
In Brooklyn, Williamsburg is the capital of NYC's hipster scene, and many of New York's small music venues are here. Bay Ridge has one of the highest concentrations of bars in the city in a neighborhood that has been generally Irish/Italian and does not have the hipster/yuppie scene common in New York. Park Slope, however, is the yuppie capital of New York and you are more likely to find a tea house serving soy milk than a bar here. There is some low-key nightlife, although this has been on the decline. A number of lesbian bars are in this area.
Queens is home to Woodside, an Irish neighborhood great for happy hour and drinking festivities before a Mets baseball game. Astoria is home to Queens' Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, which covers an entire city block, is walled and filled with trees, indoor and outdoor tables and a cool crowd, and serves great Czech and German beer. And on Staten Island, St. George has a few bars located south of the ferry terminal, with good live music.
NYC has a pretty confident claim to be the world capital of jazz. It exerts a brain drain influence on the rest of the country's most talented jazz musicians, and the live music scene is simply thriving. This goes for all styles of jazz, (except pre-swing trad jazz, which safely belongs to New Orleans): Latin, modern, fusion, experimental, bebop, hard bop, you name it. The Blue Note in Greenwich Village is probably the most famous extant jazz club in the world, with nightly headliners and cover charges to match. The Village Vanguard is a legendary hole-in-the-wall (also in Greenwich Village), having played host to most of the greats going back to 1935. Other top (i.e., famous—there are fabulous lesser-known places to hear jazz throughout the city) clubs include Birdland in the Theater District, the Cotton Club in Harlem, and the Jazz Standard in Gramercy Flatiron. If the high cover charges in this expensive city are giving you the blues, look at Smalls and Fat Cat, which are within a block of each other in Greenwich Village and keep the covers as low as possible, so that musicians can actually afford to come!
Would it be too provocative to declare New York the home of salsa? Possibly, but there's a reason to consider it. Salsa originated in Cuba, but its second home was New York (especially the Bronx), where it truly exploded and developed into a global phenomenon, driven by innovations from Cuban and later Puerto Rican immigrants. Latin dance, particularly salsa (danced on the two) and other Afro-Caribbean varieties, remains enormously popular, although it's now centered more on a semi-professional ballroom-dancing crowd rather than Latino communities. The Copacabana near Times Square dates back to 1940, and is probably the city's best known Latin dance club. Other well known options include Club Cache also near Times Square, the very Dominican El Morocco in Spanish Harlem, and Iguana in west Midtown. Many venues in the city hold a salsa night once a week, so poke around the city papers for event listings.
New York has some of the most expensive accommodations in the world. Expect to pay $100–$200 for a budget room with shared bath, $250–$350 for a mid-range hotel with a decent room and a restaurant and/or room service; and much higher in a high end hotel. Most accommodations below $200 in Manhattan are a small room with space only for a bed, a TV, perhaps a sink, and little else. Cheaper accommodations may have communal bathrooms (although many will have a sink in the room). Be warned that the quality of hotels varies significantly and, in many cheap hotels away from the center such as along the West Side Highway or in the outer reaches of Queens, you may share the premises with hourly customers! As New York is a popular destination throughout the year, it is necessary to make reservations well in advance. If you plan to be in the city during the height of the tourist season, booking months in advance would be wise.
Expect to pay up to $50 for a hostel. There are several hostels in Manhattan including two Jazz Hostels (located at 36 West 106th Street and 184 Eleventh Avenue) and one official Hostelling International hostel (located at 891 Amsterdam Avenue--between 102nd and 103rd Streets--in Manhattan), there are many places that call themselves "hostel" and offer accommodations below $100 a night. Some cater exclusively to students. You are advised to make reservations months in advance.
Room rates are typically quoted excluding taxes, so expect your actual bill to be higher than the quoted rate. Taxes include New York State and New York City sales tax (8.875%), a New York City Hotel Occupancy Tax (varies but, for rooms above $40, $2 + 5.875%), and a surcharge of $1.50. For a $100 per night room, expect to pay $117.75, after taxes are taken into account.
Alternatives to Manhattan accommodations
You don't have to stay in Manhattan. There are many hotels just outside Manhattan in Long Island City, Queens, Brooklyn and New Jersey that are cheaper than hotels in Manhattan. Also, due to the high accommodation prices and insider knowledge of the locals, you may want to consider a hospitality exchange!
Lower accommodation prices are also generally available in January and February, the end of August, and on Sunday nights.
Find free wireless hotspots across the city online at openwifinyc, NYC Wireless, and WiFi Free Spot. Wireless is available in city parks and quite a few public libraries. The Apple store has dozens of computers set up and doesn't seem to mind that many people use them for free internet access, but they can be pretty busy at times. Easy Internet Cafe and FedEx Office are just some of the internet cafes which offer broadband internet at reasonable prices. Finding a store with an open power outlet may be difficult so be sure your device is fully charged and its battery is working properly.
Public phones are less and less common, but there are now some free phone charging stations on the street if you are running out of power. Remember to include the 1 and area code when dialing from any phone in New York City - including private "land line" phones in buildings - as 11-digit dialing is always in effect, even when dialing locally. However, you don't need to dial 1 from a cell phone.
New York is statistically the safest large city in the United States, and its crime rate per person is lower than the national average and the crime rate of many small towns. An aggressive law enforcement policy, coupled with an increase in police presence during the 1990s under the leadership of then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, is believed by many New Yorkers to have been responsible for a sharp reduction in the crime rate. You can also be assured of a high police presence in Times Square, public transportation hubs and other major crowded places. For the most part, the legendary subway crimes of the 1970s and 1980s are now a thing of the past, and it is generally safe to travel around at night in the subway as long as you use common sense and keep a moderate level of vigilance.
The most common crime against tourists (not including being overcharged!) is bag snatching. Never let go of your handbag (putting other bags down is OK, as long as you guard them carefully), especially in the subway but also when eating at a restaurant. Take special care if you are sitting outdoors or in a crowded self-service restaurant. Leave your passport and other valuables that you don't need to carry in a hotel safe or hidden in your suitcase. Don't flaunt a wad of money if you can help it; if you want to be safer, count your money in your room before you go out and take only what you think you may need. Unless you have protective outer wear, consider not wearing expensive jewelry, and hide valuables like cameras when you're not using them.
While muggings are rare, they do happen. Take a tip from seasoned New Yorkers and always try to be aware of who's walking near you in all directions (especially behind you), at all times. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you find yourself on a lightly traveled or poorly lit street. Certain neighborhoods that are off the tourist path should be avoided in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Riverside Park and Central Park can be dangerous at night. If you go to an evening outdoor concert at one of the parks, follow the crowd out of the park before heading toward your destination.
Airport style security is common at buildings, museums and tourist attractions, even the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. Generally you can expect to have your bags checked (either manually by a security guard or through an x-ray machine) and walk through a metal detector. Unlike their counterparts at JFK and LaGuardia, security screenings at building entrances are surprisingly quick and efficient - and you can even leave your shoes on!
If you think you've inadvertently wandered into a dangerous area, hop into a cab, if available, or into the nearest subway station and go elsewhere. If a subway platform is deserted, stay within sight of the station agent if possible.
New York has its share of odd people: talkative pan-handlers, lonely people just wanting a chat, religious preachers, people with psychological disorders, etc. If you prefer not to speak with someone who approaches you for a chat, do what most New Yorkers do: completely ignore them or say "Sorry, gotta go" while continuing to walk at a brisk pace.
Despite the stereotypes, many New Yorkers are nice people and don't mind giving out directions (time allowing), so don't be afraid to ask! If you ever get into trouble, approach the nearest police officer. You'll find them to be friendly, polite, and very helpful.
English is the primary language spoken by most New Yorkers, although, in many communities, it is common to hear other languages that are generally widely understood. In many neighborhoods, there is a large Latino/Hispanic population among whom Spanish is spoken. There are also many neighborhoods that have a high concentration of Chinese immigrants who speak Cantonese, with knowledge of Mandarin in certain parts. You can expect to hear Russian spoken on the streets in parts of South Brooklyn, and Yiddish or Hebrew in other parts. In some of these neighborhoods, some locals may not speak very good English, but store owners and those who would deal frequently with tourists or visitors will generally speak English. Most municipal government services in New York City are also available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian.
The upside to this linguistic confusion is that, while you can find a restaurant or other establishment for nearly every culture somewhere in Manhattan, catering to English-speaking tourists, more adventurous travelers may be able to find a more authentic experience for less money among an ethnic community somewhere in the city.
The quality of tap water in New York City is considered to be among the best in the world (unless you are in an old building with outdated plumbing). There is generally no good reason to drink bottled water in preference to New York City tap water.
Citizen Service Center, tel 311 (lines open 24/7) - New York City's official non-emergency help line, available in 171 languages for questions (parade hours and routes, parking restrictions, transport problems) and complaints (litter, noise pollution, access).
Baby Sitters' Guild, ☎ +1 212 682-0227. Bookings 9AM–9PM daily, cash payments only. For stressed and busy parents visiting New York, round-the-clock baby-sitting is available short- or long-term from $20 per hour (4 hour minimum) and cab fare (approx. $10). Multilingual sitters are also available.
Barnard Babysitting Agency, 49 Claremont Ave (second floor of Elliott Hall), ☎ +1 212 854-2035. Students of Barnard College babysit for around $16 an hour, minimum two hours, plus a $20 registration fee.
Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is prohibited in indoor sections of bars, restaurants, subway stations and trains (all transit system property), public parks, public beaches, pedestrian malls, both indoor and outdoor stadiums and sports arenas, and many other public places. If you light up in any of these places, you are subject to a summons and fine, ejection, and/or indignant reactions from residents. There do remain a small number of legal cigar bars that are exempt, as are the outside areas of sidewalk cafes and the like, but these are very much the exception. If you need to smoke while eating or drinking, be prepared to take a break and join the rest of the smokers outside, whatever the weather; many establishments have large space heaters. As in most cities, drinking alcoholic beverages on the street is illegal, so bars will not let you take your drink outside.
Although not the capital of the United States, New York City is home to diplomatic missions from virtually every country on Earth due to the presence of the United Nations, so most countries have consulates here that double as the permanent mission to the United Nations, even if a country may otherwise not have diplomatic relations with the United States.
Locals would ask why you ever want to leave, but New York is a great jumping-off point to other locations in the metro area (including New Jersey and Connecticut) or anywhere in the Boston-Washington Megalopolis corridor.
Long Island— When you travel to NYC in the summer, a great idea is to check out Long Island. With its beautiful long white sanded beaches you can have it all: the big city and the summer holiday. Many New Yorkers do that every Friday, Saturday and Sunday if it is hot. Take the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station to Long Beach ($9.00 off-peak or $12.50 peak), and from there go south to the beach itself. Take a day trip on the Hampton Jitney from various stops in NYC to the East End, where Long Island wine country is on the North Fork and The Hamptons are on the South Fork.
Fire Island - an all-pedestrian summer-resort island located off the coast of Long Island. Fire Island is home to many vacation communities on the western part of the island (Ocean Beach being the most populous, with the most restaurants and bars that make an excellent day trip). The eastern part of the island is home to the largely gay communities of Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines. Western Fire Island is reachable by ferry from Bay Shore on Long Island. Bay Shore is about an hour's train ride on the Long Island Rail Road from Manhattan, and the ferry ride from Bay Shore is another thirty minutes. Ferries to Ocean Beach from Bay Shore run about once every hour during the summer. Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines are reachable by ferry from Sayville. The easternmost community, Davis Park, is reachable by ferry from Patchogue.
Jersey City, New Jersey- Directly across the Hudson River from the Financial District is New Jersey's second largest city. Jersey City is a diverse city with lots of multicultural shops and restaurants. It can be reached from Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel or the PATH trains (the bi-state subway)
Hoboken, New Jersey-Directly across the Hudson River from the West Village and Chelsea is the alleged birthplace of baseball (most erroneously believe that the birthplace is Cooperstown, NY) and actual birthplace of Frank Sinatra. Hoboken is a small city in area with a great assortment of prewar buildings and conspicuous lack of many corporate establishments. The piers have great views of Manhattan, a large selection of bars, restaurants, and clubs, and are a good place to walk around. Hoboken can be reached from Manhattan by the PATH train or by bus from Port Authority as well as by NY Waterway ferries.
The Palisades- On the western bank of the Hudson River, there are cliffs that rise sharply. These cliffs are known as the majestic Palisades. They range from 300 to 500 feet. They start in the Northern portion of Jersey City and stretch all the way to Nyack, New York. There are numerous viewpoints, trails and campsites located along the Palisades. The Palisades can be easily reached from Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge. Palisade Interstate Park and Parkway start north of the bridge.
Jersey Shore, New Jersey- The Jersey Shore starts just a few miles south of New York City. It stretches for almost 130 miles, and along it are private and public beaches. There are numerous activities along the Jersey Shore. A convenient train ride on the NJ Transit trains from Penn Station will get you to several of the towns on the Jersey Shore, including Manasquan and Point Pleasant Beach.
Westchester County and the Hudson Valley - Home to the country's only government-operated theme park - Rye Playland - as well as beautiful neighborhoods. There are pretty communities along the Long Island Sound and inland, and the Hudson Valley (which extends north of Westchester) is truly beautiful; the train route (Metro North Hudson Line to Poughkeepsie or Amtrak to Albany) along the Hudson River is one of the loveliest in the country. Westchester County starts just north of the NYC borough of The Bronx.
Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey- Just an 80-minute drive from Manhattan sits the largest regional theme park in the world. Six Flags Great Adventure features 12 monster roller coasters and is located right next to the Wild Safari (one of the largest drive-through safaris in the world). There is also Six Flags Hurricane Harbor right next door (the largest water park in the Northeast). New Jersey Transit also provides bus service from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan when the park is open (May–October).
Princeton, New Jersey- Also an easy train ride on New Jersey Transit, Princeton offers a quiet, tree-lined town, good for strolling or for visiting the Princeton University campus. Take the Northeast Corridor line to Princeton Junction, then transfer to the shuttle train (known locally as the "Dinky") to ride directly into campus.
New Haven, Connecticut— 75 miles away, New Haven is a 1 hour 45 minute ride from Grand Central Terminal via Metro North Railroad, and home to Yale University.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The second capital of the United States is 1 hour 20 minutes away by Amtrak, very feasible for a day trip or side trip from New York. A cheaper but somewhat slower method of getting there is to either take the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor Line to Trenton and change for SEPTA or take a bus.
Boston, Massachusetts - Beantown, home to the Freedom Trail, incredible seafood, Harvard University in nearby Cambridge, and the Boston Red Sox (who are the most hated sports team of most New Yorkers), is 4 hours north on I-95 ($15–$20 one way by bus on Greyhound, Peter Pan, Bolt Bus or Mega Bus), with a bus from Port Authority Bus Terminal every hour around the clock or $60–$80 one way on Amtrak from Penn Station.
Woodbury Commons, in Orange County - This is one of the largest outlet chains in the Northeast with over 200 stores to shop in. Just take exit 16 (Harriman) on Interstate 87. If you don't have a car, there are several bus alternatives from Manhattan like Gray Line New York, Hampton Luxury Liner and Manhattan Transfer tours.For routeboxes with commuter rail trains, see Manhattan or other borough articles.